Praggnanandhaa, Vaishali, Humpy turn heads at Norway Chess

The Norway Chess tournament, often referred to as the “Wimbledon of chess,” kicked off in Stavanger this week with a star-studded lineup featuring world-renowned players and rising talents.

| Updated: 28 May, 2024 1:23 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Norway Chess tournament, often referred to as the “Wimbledon of chess,” kicked off in Stavanger this week with a star-studded lineup featuring world-renowned players and rising talents. Leading the Indian contingent are teenage sensations R Praggnanandhaa and his sister, R Vaishali. Their presence has not gone unnoticed, drawing crowds of fans eager for autographs and selfies.

Notably, Indian-origin MP Himanshu Gulati traveled from Oslo specifically to meet Praggnanandhaa, highlighting the young chess star’s growing global popularity.

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“A few years ago, I would have come to this event just to get a selfie with Magnus Carlsen. But today, I mostly came here from Oslo to meet with Praggnanandhaa. He’s the talk of the world right now,” Gulati remarked, emphasizing India’s emerging dominance in the chess world.

“India should be really proud of the talents they have produced. In the world of chess, India is definitely a dominant force at the moment. These young Indians are the future of chess,” he added.

The tournament features a meticulously curated lineup, including reigning world champions Ding Liren and Ju Wenjun, as well as world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana and No. 3 Hikaru Nakamura. Other notable participants include world championship challenger Lei Tingjie and India’s veteran star Humpy Koneru, who is part of the inaugural women’s edition.

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Kjell Madland, founder and director of Norway Chess, expressed his admiration for the Indian players. “This year we have Praggnanandhaa competing. Last year, it was Gukesh. Pentala Harikrishna was here some years ago. So we have had four different players from India (including Vishy Anand),” Madland stated.

He added, “India is a huge country for chess. A lot of Indian players are very talented. We used to have Anand playing here for many years. It’s a massive honour for us to have him play here. Indian players are so nice. And they’re always professional. They’re so young, but so good.”

Norway Chess continues to be a prestigious platform, showcasing top talent from around the globe and celebrating the rising stars of the chess world. This year’s event underscores India’s significant impact on the international chess scene, with its young sensations poised to shape the future of the game.

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