2018 Tata Steel Challengers


Brothers Jorden and Lucas van Foreest will face off on the grandmaster stage in Wijk aan Zee for the first time during the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Both are part of the field of particpants of the Tata Steel Challangers, which has been announced today

The 13 participants represent nine different countries. The average rating (2609) tops that of this year (2592). The field is led by 23-year-old grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi from India. The former second of Anish giri ranks 32nd on the world list. The second top 50 player is Bassem Amin from Egypt. He ranks 45th. Amin was the first African player to break the 2700 barrier. Both Gujrathi and Amin debut in Wijk aan Zee. The 14th participant will be the highest ranking player from the ACP competition with a rating of 2650 or lower on 1 December 2017. The 80th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place in Wijk aan Zee from 12 – 28 January 2018.

Nice mix

Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg: “The field of participants of the Tata Steel Challengers is a nice mix of youth and experience, male and female top chess players. German grandmaster Matthias Blübaum and Ukranian Anton Korobov will make their debut and are not among the top candidates for the title, but may create some surprises. Only 20 years old, Matthias Blübaum has been one of the top German players for years. Korobov is known for his daring and attacking style, which yields varying results. He is just out of the top 100, while he was part of the top 40 last June.” It has become custom to invite a veteran to participate in the Tata Steel Challengers. This time that is Michal Krasenkow (54) from Poland. He is still a very strong player, who has participated in the tournament in Wijk aan Zee before.

Dutch top chess players

The Netherlands will be represented by brothers Jorden and Lucas van Foreest, Erwin l’Ami and Benjamin Bok. Jorden, Erwin and Benjamin were on the Dutch team during the European Championships in Crete, finishing 8th. Jorden will participate in the Tata Steel Challengers for the third time, while his two years younger brother Lucas (16) will make his debut. Lucas won this year’s top amateur group, thus earning promotion to the Tata Steel Challengers.

Two other young players, Aryan Tari (Norway) and Jeffery Xiong (United States) will return to Wijk aan Zee after good performances in this year’s edition. Xiong in particular left a very strong impression during his debut last January.

Two female top chess players will participate: Harika Dronavalli from India (11th on the world ranking) and Olga Girya (15th) from Russia, both 26 years-old. The latter will debut in Wijk aan Zee.