India Gets First International Chess Tournament: Tata Steel Chess India 2018

The country of India will host their first-ever major International Chess Tournament, in the city of Kolkata on November 9th to the 14th. The tournament titled “Tata Steel Chess India 2018” will feature 11 top-ranked Grandmasters (6 of the players are the best talent India has to offer, and the other five are the best chess players from the rest of the world).

The 11 top-ranked players are as follows: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2820) from Azerbaijan, Levon Aronian (2780) from Armenia, American Wesley So (2776), former World Chess Champion Indian Viswanathan Anand (2771), Hikaru Nakamura (2763) from the USA, Russian Sergey Karjakin (2760), and Indians Pentala Harikrishna (2743), Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (2711), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2622), 14-year old Nihal Sarin (2572) (only for rapid), and 13-year old Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (2519) (only for blitz).

These participants will play a Rapid (15 minutes per game with 10-second increment per move) single round-robin tournament for the first three days (all plays all once), followed by a Blitz (5 minutes per game with 3-second increment per move) double round-robin tournament (all plays all twice) for the final two days (there is a rest day in between the Rapid and Blitz tournaments).

Chess is booming in India to record levels, even more so than when Indian Viswanathan Anand was World Chess Champion from the early 2000’s until 2013. This can be seen by the prodigies that India has developed in the sport, notably Sarin and Praggnanandhaa, both of whom became Grandmasters in their early teens and both will be playing this tournament. The hope is to make this first Indian tournament into an annual event.

Unfortunately, this tournament is unlikely to get as much media attention as it deserves since it will coincide directly with the much-anticipated World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana.

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