Grand Master Baskaran Adhiban thinks it has been a ‘golden year’ so far for him and is keen to build on it and hopes to put in a strong performance at the upcoming chess World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The Chennai-based player, made a mark by finishing third in the prestigious Tata Steel chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee (the Netherlands) earlier this year, during which he beat Sergey Karjakin, who lost the world championship match to Magnus Carlsen.
Adhiban with a FIDE rating of 2677, also held Carlsen to a draw in the tournament in a game in which he held positional advantage briefly.
He is now busy preparing for the World Cup and said he was excited to be part of the event, which would feature most of the big names including Carlsen and India No.1 Viswanathan Anand.
“I am excited to be part of it as it features many great legends like Carlsen, Anand, etc. This is one tournament where everyone is equal, so if I can tap into my strongest form, I think I can play well for many rounds, he told PTI.
As for the preparations, he said, “It is going great.”
About his first round opponent — Nguyen Ngoc Truongson, a GM from Vietnam, he said, “I have played him couple of times, he is an ideal opponent and It will be good opportunity for me to grow as a player, hence so it will be an interesting match. A battle of minds!”
Apart from his heroics at the Wijk aan Zee tournament, Adhiban did well in the World Team Championship in Russia in June last with five wins, three losses and one draw as India finished fourth.
Asked how he rated the year so far, he said, “I feel this is my golden year and hence it will be one of my best years of my career!”
The 25-year-old is also happy that Anand rated him very highly and said, “It is a great honour for me, that he thinks of me so highly. It is a proof that I am the right path… on the way to my destiny. He always been been a great inspiration so that already feels like he guided me throughout my career and will continue to do so!”
On the Chinese rise in chess, Adhiban said, “It been nice to follow the rise of China as a superpower! They have many strong players like Ding Liren, Wei Yi and Yu Yangyi who have been playing well consistently at the top level. Yes at the moment they have overtaken India as they have more players above 2700, but it is only in the present… In the future we will definitely beat them! You can count on it!”