India to host quartet of GM Tournaments at the turn of 2018

by Aditya Pai
9/25/2017 – Feel like escaping to a warm climate this winter? Why not India? From December 2017 to January 2018 we'll see events in Bhopal, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. Her are all the details about the forthcoming Indian Winter Circuit tournaments along with a few tips on what one can expect from each of the tournament destinations as a tourist.

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How about an Indian winter?

Chess is becoming an increasingly popular sport in India. Not only are Indian players doing amazingly well at international events, Indian organisers have also upped the ante and a significant rise in Grandmaster tournaments has been seen in the country. A hallmark of this is the fact that for the end of the year, four back-to-back Grandmaster tournaments have been lined up in the country — from December 2017 to January 2018 we'll see events in Bhopal, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. Here's what one can expect from each of the tournament destinations as a tourist.

India has no shortage of stars these days, and has come a long way since Viswanathan Anand became the country's first grandmaster in 1988.

Now the nation of 1.2 billion people sports seven grandmasters in the Top 100 — as many as the USA — and an extensive trove of up-and-coming junior players.

As for international tournaments, the scene wasn’t the best until a few years ago. Perhaps, it is still not the best, but organizers and enthusiasts from all corners of the country have been working hard to bring about a change.

As a result of their efforts, India will be hosting not one, but four successive grandmaster tournaments at the turn of the year, this year. So if you’re looking for an event to showcase your skill and skyrocket your rating or earn norms that will win you titles, these are the events you should watch out for.

Top Indians

The other six Indians in world's top 100 (clockwise from top left): Sasikiran, Harikrishna, Adhiban, Negi, Vidit, Ganguly

Rising stars of India: Nihal Sarin and Praggnanddhaa

A well planned circuit

As you can see, these four tournaments are excellently planned by the All India Chess Federation. After every event, you have one day to reach the next destination. Flights would be the best way to travel between these major cities.

There is no better way to cover a huge country like India! Mumbai in the west, Delhi in the north, Bhopal in Centre and Chennai in South. (So as not to leave out the east, the Bhubaneswar Open will be held later in the year, so the enterprising among you can play and visit the east as well!)
This is an ideal opportunity for foreign players to visit the subcontinent, win some prize money and compete with some of the best Indian players. If you are interested in participating, contact IM Vishal Sareen at There are also attractive offers for titled foreign players (see below).

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Bhopal International Chess Tournament

Dates: 21st to 28th December 2017
Total Prize Fund: Rs 10,18,000 (USD: 15,828 EUR: 13,184)

Download tournament brochure

The inaugural event of the Indian Winter Circuit, Bhopal International Chess Tournament will be held in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, the state better known as the ‘Heart of India’. Besides giving the opportunity for Indian and international players to lock horns with some strong Grandmasters from around the world, playing here will give participants a chance to explore one of India’s greenest cities.

If you’re interested in adding a culture trip to your tournament, just hop in a few days earlier and visit the Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum, the ancient site of Sanchi or the Gohar Mahal, a palace built by Bhopal’s first female leader.

Sanchi Stupa

Sunset at the Lower Lake in Bhopal

IIFL Wealth Mumbai International Chess Tournament

Dates: 30 December 2017 to 7 January 2018
Total Prize Fund: Rs. 2,000,000 (USD: 31,106 EUR: 25,900)

Download tournament brochure

Play a GM tournament in the city of dreams, Mumbai. The IIFL Wealth Mumbai International Chess Tournament is known for providing top class playing conditions and high prize money.  The tournament will be held in two categories: Open and Juniors. While the Open tournament is open for everyone, the Juniors category is for players below the age of 13.

Playing here will definitely give you an adrenaline rush! If this is going to be your first time to Mumbai, we have to tell you that the city is a powerhouse of energy. The hustle and the bustle is simply relentless. Like New York, it's a “this city never sleeps”. A home to people from all walks of life. Mumbai has India’s largest film industry, some of Asia’s biggest slums as well as the world’s most expensive houses.

The city that never sleeps, like New York, plus ten million people!

Mumbai also contains some of the grandest colonial-era architecture on the planet

16th Delhi International Open Grandmaster Tournament

Date: 9th to 16th January 2018
Total Prize fund: Rs 77,077,777 (USD: 120,970 EUR: 100,850)

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The 16th edition of the Delhi International Open Grandmaster Tournament has a mind-boggling total prize fund of Rs. 77,77,777 (over USD $120,000) on offer! The event features three tournaments:

  • An Open Grandmaster Tournament which is open to all rated players
  • a tournament for players rated 1999 or lower
  • and a tournament for players rated 1599 or lower

While the rating category tournaments have a prize fund of Rs. 25,00,000 (USD: 38,518 EUR: 32,236) each, the Open Grandmaster event offers Rs. 27,077,777 (USD: 42,797 EUR: 35,810) in prize fund with the title winner’s share being Rs. 500,077 (USD: 7,778 EUR: 6,485).

Delhi, India's capital city, is also one of the best places to experience the country's culture. Inhabited since the 6th century BC, the city has witnessed the reigns of several dynasties and been annexed, destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. Thanks to its rich history, there are many historical monuments scattered throughout the city. This year again, Delhi is about to witness some gruesome battles; but thankfully, those battles would only be taking place over chess boards.

India Gate is a memorial to the Indian soldiers who died in the first world war

Chandani Chowk is a vibrant bazaar near old Delhi filled with food carts, sweet shops and spice stalls

10th Chennai Open International Grandmaster Tournament

Date: 18th to 25th Jan 2018
Total Prize Fund: 11,000,000 (USD: 17,105 EUR: 14,256)

Download tournament brochure

The 10th Chennai Open International Grandmaster Chess Tournament is the final leg of the Indian Winter Chess Circuit. The total prize fund for the event will be Rs. 11,000,000, of which, the title winner will take home Rs. 200,000 (USD: 3,110 EUR: 2,592). The tournament will be a 9-round-Swiss with a time control of 90 mins + 30 seconds increment from move 1.


Besides being the hometown of Viswanathan Anand, Chennai is sure to pique the interest of any chess player with its bustling chess culture. The city boasts of some of the oldest chess clubs in the country,  some of which are almost a century old! Another place you might want to visit is the Emmanuel Chess Club (previously known as Tal Chess Club), the place where Anand practiced as a kid. What could be a better way to end your trip than exploring the city and its rich chess culture!

Right: Anand giving a simul at the Emmanuel Chess Club (previously, the Tal Chess Club)

If you'd like to get away from all the chess for a while, taking a walk along the Marina beach is something you might want to consider

Early bird offers for foreign players (first 20 players only):

Grand Masters 
  1. For All Four tournaments: The organisers will take care of air-ticket from home, local air/train tickets and full board accommodation on a double-sharing basis, pocket money 200 USD.
  2. For Three Tournaments: Air ticket from home, local air/train tickets, full board accommodation on double sharing basis.
  3. For two tournaments: USD 500 for travel costs, all local air/train tickets, full board on double sharing.
  4. For one tournament: 300 USD for travel cost, full board on double sharing basis. 

Please write to IM Vishal Sareen at and avail of suitable conditions.

For FMs 

Free entry and free accommodation.

Those who are untitled or have missed the early bird offer can always contact ChessBase India Power and get their travel and accommodation arranged at attractive prices. You can contact ChessBase India Power via email at

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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