For him, 2023 will be a year of classical chess, said Anish Giri after his triumph in the super tournament "Tata Steel Chess" in Wijk aan Zee. His successful start of the year at the home event on the Dutch coast will be followed by another classical competition: The "WR Chess Masters" in Düsseldorf.
Seven participants of the WR Chess Masters started their chess year 2023 at Tata Steel Chess. The kick-off in Holland was not a failure for anyone, but it was particularly successful for two of them: Anish Giri, who after five second-place finishes in previous years now managed the longed-for victory in Wijk aan Zee, and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, who led the tournament practically from start to finish before Giri caught and overtook him on the home stretch.
Both can see how well they played in Wijk aan Zee from the new world rankings published on February 1. Anish Giri has gained 15 Elo. He is now number five in the world with a rating of 2780. Abdusattorov even gained 20 Elo. He is ranked 18th with 2733, the Uzbek’s first appearance in the world’s top 20.
Giri and Abdusattorov even top another list after their Wijk success. The "FIDE Circuit", newly introduced this year, which includes the results of top international tournaments. Whoever tops the Circuit at the end of the year will qualify for the 2024 Candidates Tournament, which will determine the 2024 World Championship challenger.
"I hope it will be me," Anish Giri said when his victory at the Tata Steel Chess was decided. Precisely because all the heavily contested 2023 super tournaments are part of the World Championship cycle, the 28-year-old wants to focus on classical chess this year. In Wijk aan Zee, he has already laid a foundation for qualifying for the Candidates Tournament. He can build on that in Düsseldorf, where he now enters the race as the second seed after Ian Nepomniachtchi.