List of participants Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2018, Tata Steel Challengers

NameCountryRating
GMVidit, Santosh GujrathiIND2718
GMAmin, BassemEGY2693
GMKrasenkow, MichalPOL2671
GMKorobov, AntonUKR2652
GMBluebaum, MatthiasGER2640
GMXiong, JefferyUSA2634
GML'Ami, ErwinNED2634
GMVan Foreest, JordenNED2629
GMGordievsky, DmitryRUS2622
GMBok, BenjaminNED2607
GMTari, AryanNOR2599
GMHarika, DronavalliIND2497
WGMGirya, OlgaRUS2489
IMVan Foreest, LucasNED2481

Average rating: 2612
Category: 15

FIDE-ratings of January 2018

 

Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit is one of the many young talents from India. The 23 year old GM already was in Wijk aan Zee in 2017, being the second of Anish Giri. Now it is time to play himself. No doubt that he is the clear favourite in the Challengers, but this is never a guarantee for the first place, which gives the right to play in the Masters in 2019.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Bassem Amin

Dr. Bassem Amin was the first Grandmaster from Africa who took the 2700-barrier, an achievement he reached in 2017. He will play his first Tata Steel Chess Tournament. He is the African Champion in 2017 (for the 4th time), and this is only one of his many successes he achieved. However, also besides the chess board Bassem has been successful. In 2012 he graduated at the Tanta University in the Faculty of Medicin.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Michal Krasenkow

As Erwin l’Ami, Krasenkow has played in all three Grandmastergroups in Wijk aan Zee (A, B and C). With his respected age of 54 Michal proves that he is still very ambitious, being one of the three 50-plus representatives in the Top-100 of the rating list (together with Nigel Short and Julio Granda Zuniga). With his rating of 2671 is ranked 74th in the World. The original GM from the Soviet-Union has won many tournaments in his career and is an outsider for first place in the Challengers. His highest position on the World Ranking List was 10th.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Anton Korobow

Anton Korobow has already been heading the top ranking in his country Ukraine for many years. Somehow the 32-year old grandmaster never played in Wijk aan Zee before, but in 2018 we will see the born Kemerowo player for the first time in Wijk aan Zee. Korobow is well-known for his aggressive play with both colours, which is partly the reason that his rating is fluctuating from time to time. For instance in June 2017 Korobow still had a rating of 2711, but on the most recent list (January 2018) we only find him back with 2652, ranked 102. Knowing that he was 2723 in 2014 before, it is clearly unpredictable how Anton will perform in Wijk aan Zee, but in form he is definitely one of the favourites.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Matthias Blübaum

Matthias is another debutant in the Challengers. The young Grandmaster from Germany is now ranked 3rd in his home country (rating 2640). He had a good year in 2017, with a shared 4th place in the European Championship (behind winner Matlakov, playing in the Masters) and a solid performance in the Top Tournament in Dortmund, where he made 3 out of 7 with a performance rating of 2687. The student in Maths and Physics comes from a German chess Family, both his two sisters and father also are active players.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Erwin l’Ami

Erwin l’Ami has played many times in Wijk aan Zee (in the A-, B- and C-group!) and most of his performances went quite well. Recent years he is less active as a player, being the first second of Anish Giri. However, in the European Team Championship in Crete Erwin proved that he still is a very solid and strong player, who is always difficult to beat.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Jeffery Xiong

Jeffery Xiong made his debut in Wijk aan Zee in 2017, being the reigning World Junior Champion at that time. Jeffery is one of the many chess prodigy’s we see nowadays. He became Grandmaster at the age of 14 and won the World Junior Title under 20 when he was only 15 years old. His first appearance in Wijk aan Zee was promising: he made 8 1/2 out of 13, with only three draws, always fighting from day one till the very end. And he had chances to win the Challengers in 2017, but at the end it was Gawain Jones who qualified for the Masters in 2018.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Jorden van Foreest

Jorden van Foreest will make his 3rd consecutive appearance in the Tata Steel Masters. And still he is only 18 years old... Jorden played very well in his first Tata Steel Chess Tournament in 2016, scoring 50% with only three draws, but last year must have been a disappointment (4 points) for him. The young Grandmaster from Groningen was Dutch Champion in 2016 and his future looks bright. If his form is OK, he can definitely play for a place in the (sub-)top in the Challengers.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Dmitry Gordievsky

Dmitry Gordievsky may be seen as the ‘dark horse’ of the Challengers. The young player form Russia earned his place winning the ACP Competition as highest ranked player with a rating under 2650 on 1. December 2017. In February 2017 Dmitry won the Moscow Open for the second time in a row, proving that he has great skills. The 21-year old student has modest ambitions, as he explained in an online interview: he wants to learn from his mistakes and become stronger after each tournament he plays.

(Photo: New in Chess)

Benjamin Bok

Benjamin Bok played already several times in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Special memories he keeps, without doubt, from the year 2014, when he made his final GM-norm and won the Professor Van Hulst Award for the best Junior performance. Bok will turn 23 years during the tournament (on 25. January) and since he is thinking about going to University (to combine with his professional career), this Tata Steel Chess Tournament could be of extra importance for Benjamin.

 

(Photo: New in Chess)

Aryan Tari

The successor of Jeffery Xiong is Aryan Tari, who took over his World Junior Title in Tarvisio, Italy, at the end of 2017. As Xiong, also Tari made his debut in Wijk aan Zee last year.  It is good for our tournament to see both youngsters back in 2018. Many cameras will be focused on Tari, whose parents come from Iran. Nowadays Tari is the second star in Norway, together with the Number-1 and World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Will it be Norway and Norway in both the Masters and the Challengers? We will only find out on 28 January, but it is good for chess that the successes of Carlsen have led to new impulses in Norway.

 

(Photo: New in Chess)

Harika Dronavalli

Harika has already played several times in our tournament. Harika is a professional player and achieved many fine results, among others she won three world titles in her youth (U-14, U-18 and U-20). In 2011, at the age of 20, she became Grandmaster. In the Women World Championships Harika won bronze medals in 2012, 2015 and 2017.

 

(Photo: New in Chess)

Olga Giriya

Olga is playing for the first time in Wijk aan Zee. Giriya is already at the top of Russian chess for many years and also played in the Russian team that won several prices in the recent past, such as the Olympiad and the World Team  Championship. In the Category Under 18 she won individual gold in both the World Championship and the European Championship.

 

(Photo: New in Chess)

Lucas van Foreest

Lucas van Foreest, the younger brother of Jorden, will make his debut in the Tata Steel Challengers. He secured his place by winning the Top Tienkamp (highest 10 players all play all amateur division) in 2017. Lucas is 16 years old, but despite his young age he has a lot of self-confidence (he is perhaps even more optimistic than his brother....). It will be very interesting to see how Lucas will perform on this very high level.

 

(Photo: New in Chess)