Tata Steel Chess Rapid and Blitz 2019 Press Conference

by Shahid Ahmed
11/13/2019 – With the Superbet Rapid and Blitz in the books, the race for the Grand Chess Tour finals in London is becoming clear. Sergey Karjakin, by virtue of tying with Aronian for first is out of the running. Since Vachier-Lagrave is finished with his tour events, Viswanathan Anand is looking to qualify for London, and 6th place in Kolkata should be enough to close the gap. The new Chess960 World Champion Wesley So will be there too. Can you guess what is veiled with blue velvet below?| Photo: Shahid Ahmed

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Custom-made six kilogram trophy unveiled

Tata Steel has brought one of the most significant tournament in India last year and now they are taking it to the next level by making it part of the Grand Chess Tour and having the World Champion Magnus Carlsen participate in this event too.

Tata Steel Chess Rapid and Blitz 2018 was the first the major international event of this magnitude in Kolkata last year. It had a nail-biter finish which was won by the nation's favorite Vishy Anand in the blitz section. Everyone, including me, eagerly waited for the announcement of the next event. Once it was confirmed and official announcement was made that Tata Steel Chess India is now part of Grand Chess Tour, the excitement increased exponentially for all chess lovers and enthusiasts.

I was the first to reach the venue of the Press Conference at the 'Gharana' of The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata. My eyes went directly on to the stage and I made a calculated guess about what it could be, but the only thing I could do is to suppress my curiosity and wait patiently.

Jeet Banerjee - Director of Gameplan Sports breaks down Grand Chess Tour for the media | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

The dais was graced by Bharat Singh Chauhan, AICF Secretary, Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President of Tata Steel Corporate Services and Jeet Banerjee, Director of Gameplan Sports. Gameplan is the official sponsorship and branding partner of the entire Grand Chess Tour 2019. They all shared their voice of the sport and how things have transpired in the Indian chess scene. Then came the surprise, two short video clips were shown. First it was an overview of last year's event

A quick overview of last year's heavily successful and critically acclaimed Tata Steel Chess India 2018 | Video: Tata Steel Chess India

And then came the surprise of Nakamura, Anand and Carlsen's message for the tournament.

A screen recording of Nakamura, Anand and Carlsen's message | Video: Shahid Ahmed

Then came the moment of the trophy unveil and it was revealed that the champion's trophy is made of bronze and it weighs a massive 6 kg. It was specifically designed for this tournament by an artist.

The beautiful trophy is the logo of the tournament — a shining knight | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Highlights of the Press Conference

Watch the unveiling of the trophy | Video: Shahid Ahmed

India's second Grandmaster in history Dibyendu Barua talks about the significance of Grand Chess Tour and much more | Video: Shahid Ahmed

AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan talks about hosting consecutive huge international tournaments and upcoming major events | Video: Shahid Ahmed

It was also revealed that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited Vishy Anand to ring the ceremonial bell to mark the beginning of India-Bangladesh Test match which starts on 22nd November at Eden Gardens. It will be the first ever day-night test cricket match both teams will play.

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Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.
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