Koneru Humpy will not play at the chess World Cup, which gets underway at Sochi, Russia, from July 10.
“I have decided not to play because I have already qualified for the World championship’s Candidates tournament and because I am not sure if participating in an event that will have more than 300 players is safe in the time of a pandemic,” the World No. 3 told The Hindu on Friday.
“I could have taken the risk if I hadn’t qualified for the Candidates, but since I have, by finishing second at the Grand Prix series, I thought there was no need for me to travel to Russia in these uncertain times.”
She said she was hopeful of returning to tournaments after a few months.
“I haven’t played an event since February last year and I am itching to get back on the circuit,” she said.
“I am planning to play at the Grand Swiss tournament later this year.”
Though neither Humpy, the reigning women’s World rapid champion, nor five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand is playing at the World Cup, India is still fielding a strong contingent in the form of P. Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, B. Adhiban, Aravind Chithambaram, P. Iniyan, Dronavalli Harika, Padmini Rout, Bhakti Kulkarni and R. Vaishali.