While sports across the world has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, chess lovers will have another bit ticket event to follow from their homes as some of the world’s best players face off in the six-team online Nations Cup from Tuesday.
The field for the event organised by the International Chess Federation and Chess.com includes six former world champions, twelve players who have been challengers to the crown and a few up and coming stars. Former world champions Gary Kasparov and Vladmir Kramnik will be advisors of Team Europe and India respectively.
The event will be played on a double round-robin format with the top two teams facing off in the Superfinal on May 9. The total prize purse for the event is $180000 with games being played in rapid format with each player getting 25 minutes on their clock, plus 10 seconds of extra time added after each move.
Each match will consist of four boards with each team fielding at least one woman player.
India will be led by former world champion Viswanathan Anand and have been seeded fifth, just above the Rest of the World squad.
China, who won the Olympiad double in the last edition, would be the obvious favourites given their overall rating and the return of highest-rated women’s player and four-time world champion Hou Yifan, who had taken a break from chess two years ago after getting the Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University.
India would be banking on the rapid prowess of Anand on the top board to give them an advantage against the likes of Ding Liren, 2020 Candidates tournament leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ian Nepomniachtchi among others.
The Candidates event was suspended at the halfway stage after the Russian government put restrictions on international air travel and since then chess events have moved online. Six of the eight players in that tournament will be in action at the Nations Cup.
Teams in National Cup
|China||Europe||Russia||USA||India||Rest of the World|
|Ding Liren||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave||Ian Nepomniachtchi||Fabiano Caruana||Viswanathan Anand||Teimour Radjabov|
|Wang Hao||Levon Aronian||Vladislav Artemiev||Hikaru Nakamura||Vidit Gujrathi||Alireza Firouzja|
|Wei Yi||Anish Giri||Sergey Karjakin||Wesley So||P Harikrishna||Bassem Amin|
|Hou Yifan||Anna Muzychuk||Alexandra Goryachkina||Irina Krush||Koneru Humpy||Mariya Muzychuk|
|Yu Yangyi||Jan-Krzysztof Duda||Dmitry Andreikin||Leinier Dominguez Perez||B Adhiban||Jorge Cori|
|Ju Wenjun||Nana Dzagnidze||Olga Girya||Anna Zatonskih||D Harika||Dinara Saduakassova|