Vishwanathan Anand ‘show stopper’ for $40,000 Tata Steel Chess India

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Vishwanathan Anand will spearhead the strong international field at the $40,000 Tata Steel Chess India.

Tata Steel will sponsor India’s first international chess tournament in Kolkata during November this year. The tournament, sponsored by the Tata Group subsidiary, will have a total prize money purse of ₹29 lakhs ($40,000).

The tournament – Tata Steel Chess India – is slated from November 9 to 14, 2018, and will see the participation of the world’s current top Grandmasters including India’s own chess legend Vishwanathan Anand.

A total of 11 top-ranked players will take part in the tournament, part of International Chess Federation (FIDE) calendar, which will be played in Rapid and Blitz formats. The tournament will be held at Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Kolkata.

The total prize money in the two events is US$ 40,000 with first prizes of US$, 10,000 and US$ 7,500 in the Rapid and Blitz games, respectively.

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.

The tournament will comprise Rapid as well as Blitz competitions. The participants will play a single round robin (all play all) Rapid Tournament on November 9 to 11 followed by a double round robin Blitz tournament on November 13 and 14.

The tournament has been conceptualised and will be conducted by Gameplan Sports Pvt Ltd, a 20-year-old sports marketing company that has been involved with several top sports tournaments in India over the last two decades., one of the leading broadcasters of global chess tournaments on the Internet, will broadcast the tournament live.

Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice-President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, said, “Tata Steel has a long-standing association with chess, having been the main sponsor of the famous chess tournament at Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands, which is one of the most prestigious events in the international chess calendar.

“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.”

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Tournament Director Jeroen van den Berg said, “It is always good for chess when there are new initiatives. For me personally, it is a challenge to make the new initiative in India successful, which can hopefully lead to a new and long tradition. It is a very nice and strong field. Most of the participants have already showed their Rapid and Blitz skills in other events. I hope that many people from Kolkata will come and see the tournament.”

Jeet Banerjee, Managing Director, Gameplan Sports Pvt Ltd, said: “Tata Steel Chess India will signal a proud moment for the sport in India as it brings in some of the most respected and decorated international chess players to India. It is also a rare honour to organise the first tournament in more than 15 years where Vishwanathan Anand will be participating. At Gameplan, we are honoured to be handling this tournament and look forward to welcoming the players to Kolkata, a city where chess is a passion in local clubs, family drawing rooms and even under flyovers and on roadsides.” Chief Chess Officer Danny Rensch said, “We are very excited to see a new super-tournament in India with both local and international top grandmasters. We are very pleased to bring this event to one of our largest, most loyal member bases in a country where the history of chess is rich and the future of chess is bright.”

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