Humpy, Pragg, and Vaishali set to compete in Norway Chess 2024

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Humpy, Pragg, and Vaishali set to compete in Norway Chess 2024

Stavanger (Norway): Indian Grandmasters Koneru Humpy, Vaishali Rameshbabu and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu are set to compete in the 12th edition of the prestigious Norway Chess Championship scheduled to take place from May 27 to June 7 at SR-Bank’s main building, here.

The prestigious event will feature World No.1 Magnus Carlsen (Norway), World No.3 Hikaru Nakamura (USA), current World Champion Ding Liren (China), Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun (China), Lei Tingjie (China) among others.

Popularly known as the ‘Wimbledon of Chess’, Norway Chess annually extend invitations to top Grandmasters from the world rating list. However, within the top 100 players globally, no women are listed. There has been a scarcity of women in top-level private competitions due to limited invitations and unequal prize money. Hence, to address this issue and set a new benchmark for gender equality, Norway Chess has introduced the world’s first-ever equal female tournament this year.

The Norway Chess Women’s Tournament, to be held in the same hall concurrently, with the same number of players as the Norway Chess, will have the same format and an equivalent prize fund. With their partners EY, the SpareBank 1 SR-Bank Foundation, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank, and Stavanger Municipality, Norway Chess aim to provide women chess players with more opportunities and a comparable prize fund, fostering participation and giving a platform to aspiring female chess players.

In this edition, the brother-sister duo of Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali will make their debut in the Norway Chess and the Norway Chess Women’s Tournament respectively.

While Praggnanandhaa is only the second Indian to reach the final of the FIDE Chess World Cup, Vaishali is the third woman in India to achieve the Grandmaster title. Both are the first brother-sister duo to earn this distinction. Notably, Praggnanandhaa was the winner of the 2022 Norway Chess International Open Tournament. He remained unbeaten throughout the nine rounds, recording 7.5 points to clinch the title.

Koneru Humpy, the current World No.2 in the women’s category and India’s No.1 woman chess player, who won the FIDE Women’s rapid chess championship in 2019 will be vying for top honours at the inaugural Norway Chess Women’s Tournament.

Speaking about the inaugural Norway Chess Women’s Tournament, five-time world champion and Indian legendary Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, who has competed in the Norway Chess in the past, said, “Norway chess are focused on making the game more spectator-friendly and accessible. They experiment a lot with the format and time controls. They are very innovative in this area. I welcome their attempt to help popularise the women’s game by having an equal prize fund for the women this year. Always a tournament to look forward to both as a spectator and as a participant.”

Welcoming the participants from India, Benedicte Westre Skog, Co-owner and Project Manager, Norway Chess, said, “India is certainly a chess powerhouse, having produced top-level chess talent over the years. With young Indian talented players doing wonders on the global stage, Chess is growing at a rapid pace in India. It is one of our key markets to tap into. We feel fortunate to have Indian GMs taking part in Norway Chess over the past years. We are looking forward to hosting the Indian debutants Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali, as well as Koneru Humpy, and our best wishes to them.”

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