Tata Steel Chess India Championship 2023: Divya Deshmukh replaces Praggnanandhaa's sister R Vaishali in the tournament

Women Grandmaster Divya Deshmukh (Image via Chess Association Kolhapur)
Women Grandmaster Divya Deshmukh (Image via Chess Association Kolhapur)

Woman Grandmaster M. R. Vaishali, sister of rising chess star R. Praggnanandhaa, withdrew from the Tata Steel Chess India Championship, dealing an unexpected blow to the event. The prestigious event, scheduled to commence this Thursday, will miss the presence of this exceptional chess talent.

Vaishali's absence is a setback for the Tata Steel Chess India Championship, as she is an integral part of the Indian chess scene. Her recent accomplishments, including being crowned the National Woman Chess Champion in 2022, made her a force to be reckoned with in chess.

Notably, she also secured an individual bronze medal at the FIDE Olympiad 2022, showcasing her prowess on the global stage. As of August 2022, Vaishali held the impressive 12th rank among India's top women chess players.

Her role as the reigning national women's champion highlighted her consistent dominance on the national chess circuit. A significant aspect of Vaishali's journey was her instrumental role in shaping her brother Praggnanandhaa's career. She played a pivotal role in propelling him to become the youngest-ever World Cup runner-up at the remarkable age of 18.

Stepping into Vaishali's place is WGM Divya Deshmukh, a former national champion and a member of the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad team in 2020.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, Vaishali R won’t be able to participate, but we’re excited to welcome Divya Deshmukh to the tournament! Let’s cheer for Divya," the organizers said.

Despite Vaishali's absence, the tournament remains star-studded. The women's lineup boasts esteemed players like reigning world champion Wenjun Ju and runner-up Tingjie Lei, both representing China. The lineup also features Anna Ushenina, who triumphed in the Tata Steel Chess India Rapid 2022, and the renowned Irina Krush, the sole American woman grandmaster.

Star-Studded Lineup at Tata Steel Chess India Championship 2023

The Tata Steel Chess India Championship 2023 is poised to deliver a chess extravaganza with its impressive lineup. Representing India are Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, Savitha Shri, and Vantika Agarwal.

The Open category, commencing on September 4, features the dynamic quartet of Praggnanandhaa, D. Gukesh, Vidit Gujrathi, and Arjun Erigaisi, all fresh from their remarkable World Cup quarter-final performances.

Joining the fray from overseas are esteemed players like Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Teymour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan), and Vincent Keymer (Germany). Their presence adds an international flavor, promising intense battles of strategy and skill.

As the countdown to the Tata Steel Chess India Championship begins, chess enthusiasts worldwide await the captivating clashes of tactical brilliance from this exceptional assembly of players.

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