India to host its first super tournament in November

by Aditya Pai
9/25/2018 – It's a historic moment for Indian chess. The country will be hosting its first super tournament this November — the Tata Steel Rapid and Blitz. Bigwigs like Aronian, Nakamura, Karjakin, So and Mamedyarov will be seen crossing swords with Anand, Harikrishna, Vidit and others. Prodigies, Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa will also be seen matching their wits with some of the absolute best in the world. Here's all you need to know about the event.

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Tata Steel Chess comes to India

Tata Steel, the corporate giant that is behind the annual super tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, has announced another world-class event, this time in rapid and blitz chess, on its home soil in India. The event will feature an exciting mix of some of the top players from India and the world.

While Tata Steel is the sponsor of the event, it is conceptualized and organized by Game Plan, the company that manages the Kolkata Knight Riders, a cricket team from the Indian Premier League. Jeroen van den Berg, Director of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament held at Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands, will be the Director of Tata Steel Chess India as well.

Five world stars — Levon Aronian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So and Sergey Karjakin — will take on four Indian stars — Vishy Anand, Pentala Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi and Surya Ganguly. In addition, the two Indian prodigies, Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa, will also be seen crossing swords in the fray. Nihal will be playing the rapid event and Pragganandhaa will feature in the blitz.  

All participants of the Tata Steel Rapid and Blitz

All participants of Tata Steel Chess India | Photo: Tata Steel Chess India Facebook

Viswanathan Anand during the press conference of Tata Steel Chess India 2018

A press conference was arranged in Kolkata to launch the tournament today (15th of September) and Vishy Anand attended it | Photo: Bharat Singh's Facebook page

The event will be hosted by the city of Kolkata from 9th to 14th November 2018 and will feature three days of rapid chess and two days of blitz. Rounds will be played at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations where players will be vying for a prize fund of USD 40,000 in both tournaments. First place winners will take home USD 10,000 and USD 7,500 in the rapid and blitz segments, respectively.

This will be the first time that India would host a tournament of this stature. The country will also see its greatest player, GM Viswanathan Anand, playing a tournament on home turf after more than 20 years.

Dignitaries during the press conference of Tata Steel Chess India 2018

From left to right: Bharat Singh Chauhan, D.V. Sundar, Dibyendu Barua, Vishy Anand, Surya Ganguly, Sunil Bhaskaran — VP Tata Steel, Jeet Banerjee — Director at GamePlan 

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President (Corporate Services), Tata Steel, said: “Tata Steel intends to make Tata Steel Chess India a world-class and most sought-after event in professional chess in the years to come. Kolkata has been the nerve centre of chess and it is in the fitness of things that the city hosts the biggest chess tournament that the country has seen.”

Sharing his thoughts on the event Anand said: “I am very excited that the Tata Steel Chess India 2018 tournament will be held in Kolkata. The field is genuinely strong. We have a nice mix of both top players and my compatriots. I will also be happy to play in front of my local audience. I hope this will, in fact, mature into a tradition in India. It's nice that finally, the connection between Wijk Aan Zee and India is developing well.”


Aditya Pai is an ardent chess fan, avid reader, and a film lover. He holds a Master's in English Literature and used to work as an advertising copywriter before joining the ChessBase India team.


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