That 17-year-old Praggnanandhaa is the lowest-rated player in the 14-player line-up for the 85th edition of the Tata Steel Masters tells you all you need to know about what Anish Giri describes as “the strongest field I have ever seen in Wijk aan Zee”. World no. 2 Ding Liren will warm up for his World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi by playing in a field that also features a 19th Wijk aan Zee appearance for current World Champion Magnus Carlsen.
The 2023 edition of the Tata Steel Chess Festival will take place from January 13-29 in Wijk aan Zee and is set to be a return to its traditional format for the 1st time since the pandemic, with not just a Masters and Challengers but Amateur events as well.
Most eyes, however, will be on the top event, the Tata Steel Masters, and they’ve announced a spectacular line-up.
We’ve reached the point at which the new generation of chess prodigies are on the brink of becoming fully-fledged elite grandmasters. Five of the best will be in Wijk aan Zee: 16-year-old Gukesh, 17-year-old Praggnanandhaa, 18-year-old Vincent Keymer and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and 19-year-old Arjun Erigaisi, who crushed last year’s Challengers.
Two other 19-year-olds are absent: Hans Niemann, who claimed in his $100 million lawsuit that negotiations with the organisers stopped after the events in St. Louis, and world no. 4 Alireza Firouzja, who fell out with the organisers after a controversial finish to the 2021 event.
What stands out, however, is who’s playing, with Anish Giri, usually present in Wijk aan Zee for the announcement but currently in San Francisco, introducing the field.
Anish Giri and five more of the players in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals are in action, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who’s won the event eight times, including in 2022.
4-time winner Levon Aronian plays, as well as one-time winners Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Jorden van Foreest, who’s as close as we can get to the usual “weaker Dutch player” invite to the event!
It will be particularly interesting to see World no. 2 Ding Liren make a rare appearance outside of China in a year when he’s set to play a World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi.
The 13-round event runs from January 13-29 and we’ll of course have full coverage here on chess24!
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