CHENNAI: Vidit Santosh Gujrathi’s graph has been on an upward curve for some time now. The 22-year-old added one more feather to his cap, bagging bronze at the recent Asian Chess Championship in Chengdu, China. Importantly, third-place finish helped Vidit qualify for the World Cup, later this year in Batumi, Georgia.
Vidit made a slow start, with two draws, besides losing against eventual champion Wang Hao in the fifth round. However, he struck a purple patch, winning three straight games, which put him in contention for the title. A draw in the last round against top seed Yu Yangyi ended title hopes, but it was a good outing by and large.
“Vidit played solid chess and he has excellent preparation in openings. It is very hard to defeat him and he can hold himself against most opposition. He played well throughout and expectedly got the medal for India,” said India’s leading coach RB Ramesh on Vidit’s performance.
The player based in Nasik has been improving with every tournament. He was India’s top performer at the Chess Olympiad in Baku. He also had the satisfaction of finishing ahead of Viswanathan Anand in the World Rapid Championship, where he even held the five-time world champion to a draw!
“Vidit, as usual, was consistent and despite the one loss made a great comeback,” reflected GM Sundararajan Kidambi.
Being a second of Dutch No 1 and World No 10 Anish Giri has benefited Vidit’s game. Sound positional understanding and opening preparation are his strengths, which even top GMs respect.
Losing fewer games and performing consistently are his other traits. Ranked 56th in the world with an Elo rating of 2687, he is on course to become the fourth Indian to cross the 2700 Elo rating mark.
Vaishali Rameshbabu has been overshadowed by young brother Praggnanandhaa of late. Her recent results had not been inspiring either, except for the Reykjavik Open. It all turned around at the Asian Women’s Championship, where Vaishali clinched bronze ahead of higher-ranked compatriots Padmini Rout and Soumya Swaminathan. She played eight decisive games (six wins, two losses) and gained 40 rating points.
Queried about Vaishali’s achievement and her strengths, her coach Ramesh had this to say, “Chess wise, Vaishali is very strong for her age among the girls. She had a tough 10 months but with this tournament, she should have regained confidence. She defends well in tough situations, calculates well and her general understanding is good. Needs to manage time better and improve opening knowledge.”