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Karpov Poikovsky International: Vidit to face stiff competition

by Aditya Pai - 26/05/2018

The Karpov Poikovsky Open will kick off today in the small Siberian town of Poikovsky, around 180 kilometres east of Khanty Mansiysk. The 10 player round robin features some very strong players like Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dmitry Jakovenko and Boris Gelfand. The only Indian representative in the field will be India's rising star, GM Vidit Gujrathi. This will be the first time that Vidit will be a part of such a strong closed event. In this report, we will take a look at some of the favourites to win the tournament and their recent performances.

Karpov Poikovsky International to begin today

The 19th edition of the Karpov International is scheduled to begin today in Poikovsky, a small Siberian town in Russia. The 10 player round robin will be played with a time control of 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes until the end of the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1. The field will be headlined by the Russian star, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and includes a strong line-up of players like Dmitry Jakovenko, Vidit Gujrathi, Boris Gelfand and so forth.

Full list of Participants

Sr No.







Ian Nepomniachtchi





Dmitry Jakovenko





Vidit Santosh Gujrathi





Vladimir Fedoseev





Vladislav Artemiev





Boris Gelfand





Anton Korobov





Vladislav Kovalev





Emil Sutovsky





Victor Bologan



In a field this strong, it’s hard to make predictions as to who might stand the best chance to win the event. However, let’s take a quick look at some of the favourites, their recent performances and their chances at the event.

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi will be the top seed at the event

‘Nepo’, without a doubt, is the favourite to win the tournament. He is not only the highest rated grandmaster in the field but he has also proved time and again that he can give even the very best in the world a run for their money. However, he hasn’t played a single event since the London Chess Classic in December last year. So it will be interesting to see how strong a comeback he will make.

Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit is one of those players whom you just cannot discount | Photo: Alina L'ami  

In the last few years his rise has been consistent and steady. He is always well prepared and has proved on quite a few occasions that he can hold ground against even the very best in the world.

Talking of his performance this year, Vidit hasn’t lost a single game so far. He was the winner of the challengers' segment of the Tata Steel this year and will be seen crossing swords with the very best in the world in the next edition of the event.

However, one concern for Vidit is his lack of experience in closed tournaments. This will be the first time that the Nashik lad will be playing in such a strong closed event.

Anton Korobov

Korobov at the Tata Steel Challengers 2018 | Photo: Alina L'ami

Korobov might not be rated as high as some of the top seeds but his rating was above 2700 not so long ago. Besides, he has had a fantastic year so far. He had finished second at the recently concluded Grenke Chess Open. Besides, at the Aeroflot Open, too, he had scored a decent 6.0/9 and finished joint second at the European Individual Championship. He also came very close to clinching the title the Tata Steel Challengers where, after a catastrophe against Dmitry Gordievsky in the final round in a must win situation, had to settle for the second place.

Vladislav Artemiev

Vladislav Artemiev during his ninth round game at the Aeroflot Open 2018 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Artemiev will be another young gun alongside Vidit to watch out for. Four years younger to Vidit, he is already rated 2704 and is seeded sixth in the tournament. Among some of his latest achievements include sixth place at the Aeroflot Open and fifth place at the Sharjah Masters. He was also the runner-up at the World Junior Championships last year and will be looking to score some big upsets in Poikovsky.

Boris Gelfand

Gelfand at the Aeroflot Open 2018 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The 2012 World Championship Challenger, Boris Gelfand will be the sixth seed in the tournament. Despite his modest starting rank, his chances, thanks to his plethora of experience, can never be underestimated. Also, he has been in a great shape this year. At the Gibraltar Masters, his previous – and only – event, this year, he had finished with 7.0/9, just half a point behind the winner. Let’s see what he pulls off this time.


Besides, the players enlisted above there are still more who can strike at the right moment and take home the championship. Last year, it the eighth-seeded Emil Sutovsky who bagged the title. He’s there again this year to defend it. There is also Dmitry Jakovenko who has won the event twice before, once in 2007 and then again in 2012. One of Anand’s archrivals at the World Rapid Championship in Riyadh, Vladimir Fedoseev will also be a player to look out for. All in all, we can be sure that with such closely matched participants, it will be a very tough event which will surely turn out to be a treat for us spectators!

About the Author

Aditya Pai is an ardent chess fan, avid reader, and a film lover. He holds a Master's in English Literature and used to work as an advertising copywriter before joining the ChessBase India team.

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