Tata Steel is all set to bring India’s first international chess tournament to Kolkata in November this year. Tata Steel Chess India, which will be hosted in Kolkata from November 9-14, 2018, will witness the participation of the world’s current top Grandmasters, including our own Vishwanathan Anand, who has not played in a tournament of this scale in India for over two decades.
A total of 11 top-ranked players will take part in the tournament, which will be played in Rapid and Blitz formats. The venue of the tournament is Indian Council for Cultural Relations, 9A, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata 700 071, one of the cultural hubs located in the heart of the city.
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 9th, 10th, and 11th followed by a double round robin Blitz tournament on November 13th and 14th. Tata Steel Chess India will be part of the FIDE (International Chess Federation) calendar.
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.
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.
Chess.com, one of the leading broadcasters of global chess tournaments on the Internet, will broadcast the tournament live.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr 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."
Tournament Director Jeroen van den Berg said he was happy with the new challenge of helming a world-class tournament in India: “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.”
Mr 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.”
“We are very excited to see a new super-tournament in India with both local and international top grandmasters," Chess.com Chief Chess Officer Danny Rensch said, adding that "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.”