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Tata Steel Chess India Rapid & Blitz 2021 preview

by Shahid Ahmed - 17/11/2021

Tata Steel started India's first super tournament in 2018. World champion Magnus Carlsen won it in 2019 which was also a part of Grand Chess Tour. The tournament could not take place last year due to Covid-19 pandemic. As we slowly move towards restoring normalcy, Tata Steel is back to organize India's strongest chess tournament once again. This year there is a good mix of world's best players and talented youngsters. For the first time in Tata Steel Chess India, two women will take part - Vaishali in Rapid and Harika in Blitz. Adhiban got married the day before and flew the next day to take part in this event. Who is your pick to win the Rapid and Blitz event? Photo: Shahid Ahmed

I am looking forward to play against Levon Aronian - Arjun Erigaisi

Tata Steel Chess Rapid and Blitz 2021 is the third iteration of the tournament. It is the first major event to take place in India since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world. The winner of the first edition in 2018, seven-time world champion Vishy Anand has taken a new role of the tournament ambassador and he will also be mentoring the young talented Indian players in the tournament.

Tata Steel Chess India 2021 participants with Chanakya Chaudhary and Vishy Anand | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz 2021 logo | Photo: Official site

The 'Drawing of Lots' took place at Taj Bengal, Kolkata on 16th November 2021 at 5 p.m. IST. Vishy Anand along with Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President of Tata Steel Corporate Services, Tournament Director for both Tata Steel Chess India and Tata Steel Chess, Jeroen Van Den Berg, Jeet Banerjee, Director of Gameplan Sports Private Limited and IM Tania Sachdev did the drawing of lots for both rapid and blitz event. The arbiters - IA Dharmendra Kumar, IA Gopakumar Sudhakaran and IA Asit Baran Choudhury were also present among the officials.

Arjun, Shankland, Vishy, Karthikeyan and Praggnanandhaa at the same table | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

When Arjun Erigaisi was asked whom is he looking forward to play at the tournament, his answer was the one word everyone was hoping for - Aronian. We all know Arjun's ascension started in the summer when he ended Aronian's unbeaten streak at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Goldmoney Asian Rapid. The 18-year-old boy from Telangana defeated Aronian twice consecutively in Blitz at Riga in the recently concluded Tal Memorial. When someone from the media asked Aronian a question, the Armenian Lion remembered to add that the talented youngsters are definitely to watch out for including Arjun who is obviously looking forward to play against him. The two-time World Cup winner said it smilingly. One can only hope that this is a start of a very good and healthy rivalry as both of them are gentleman of the game both on and off the board.

Vishy Anand will be in a new avatar at Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz 2021 | Photo: Lennart Ootes

"I am delighted to be back in Kolkata, I always am. It's great to be again here with Tata Steel Chess. Tata has had a long commitment with chess. I like to keep reminding people that my first Tata chess tournament when I was trying for the Grandmaster title, was right here in Kolkata back in 1986. So the long relationship. Indirectly, they became the sponsors of the strongest event in the world, the Tata Steel event in Wijk aan Zee. I am glad that the event in Kolkata is already now very well established. I am here in a new role which is for me very enjoyable. I am really looking forward to it. We have very very exciting field..." - Vishy Anand in his inaugural speech. He also mentioned briefly about the participants of the event. Check out the video below: 

Vishy Anand on the Tata Steel Chess India 2021 and his role at the event | Video: ChessBase India


Two-time World Cup winner Levon Aronian (ARM), World Blitz 2013 champion Le Quang Liem (VIE), former US champion Sam Shankland (USA), India no.2 Vidit Gujrathi, B Adhiban and Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI) - these six players will play in both Rapid and Blitz events. Karthikeyan Murali, Arjun Erigaisi, Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa will only play the Rapid event. They will be replaced by Nihal Sarin, D Gukesh, Harika Dronavalli and Raunak Sadhwani in Blitz event which starts on Saturday 20th November.

Photo Gallery

Media taking photographs of the participants | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President of Tata Steel Corporate Services delivers the inaugural speech | Photo: Lennart Ootes

IM Tania Sachdev conducting the Drawing of Lots along with Tournament Director Jeroen Van Den Berg | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Jeet Banerjee, Director of Gameplan Sports Pvt. Ltd. gives his vote of thanks | Photo: Lennart Ootes

The players with Vishy Anand and Chanakya Chaudhary | Photo: Lennart Ootes

The Official Commentators - IM Sagar Shah and IM Tania Sachdev | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Comedian Samay Raina is also part of the Official Commentary team | Photo: Lennart Ootes


The total prize fund is over US$ 40000. First prize US$ 10000.

Where to watch

Tata Steel Chess India 2021 Rapid Round 1-3 | Live commentary by IM Tania Sachdev, IM Sagar Shah and Samay Raina | Video: ChessBase India


Vishy Anand on the World Championship Match between Carlsen and Nepo
"I am inspired by Anand and Gelfand" - A deep talk with Levon Aronian
An honest interview with Vidit Gujrathi
Adhiban and Srinithi | May you live together forever! ❤ ❤
Sam Shankland is a huge Dexter fan, travelled 38 hours from California to Kolkata
World Blitz 2013 champion Le Quang Liem beat his first 2700+ Mamedyarov in Kolkata 2009
"To face each other will be fun...for the audience!" - Pragg and Vaishali open up!
Tournament Jeroen van den Berg talks about how tough it was to organize Tata Steel Chess India 2021
Using his chess learnings in chess - Jeet Banerjee, Director of Gameplan
Nihal, Arjun, Gukesh, Raunak, Pragg - How are they similar and different from each other - GM Ramesh


Everyday round starts at 2 p.m. IST. Rapid: Round 1-3 - 17th October, Round 4-6 - 18th October and Round 7-9 - 19th October. Blitz: Round 1-9 - 20th October, Round 10-18 - 21st October 2021.

Day 1 pairings

Round 1 on 2021/11/17 at 1400 h
Bo.No.FEDRtg NameResultName FEDRtgNo.
GMKarthikeyan MuraliGMLe Quang Liem
WGMVaishali RGMPraggnanandhaa R
GMErigaisi ArjunGMMaghsoodloo Parham
GMShankland SamGMAronian Levon
GMAdhiban B.GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi
Round 2 on 2021/11/17 at 1530 h
Bo.No.FEDRtg NameResultName FEDRtgNo.
GMLe Quang LiemGMVidit Santosh Gujrathi
GMAronian LevonGMAdhiban B.
GMMaghsoodloo ParhamGMShankland Sam
GMPraggnanandhaa RGMErigaisi Arjun
GMKarthikeyan MuraliWGMVaishali R
Round 3 on 2021/11/17 at 1700 h
Bo.No.FEDRtg NameResultName FEDRtgNo.
WGMVaishali RGMLe Quang Liem
GMErigaisi ArjunGMKarthikeyan Murali
GMShankland SamGMPraggnanandhaa R
GMAdhiban B.GMMaghsoodloo Parham
GMVidit Santosh GujrathiGMAronian Levon



Official site



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