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Everything that you wanted to know about the Tata Steel Chess India 2019

by Sagar Shah - 21/11/2019

The strongest tournament on Indian soil - the Tata Steel India Rapid and Blitz which is part of the Grand Chess Tour will begin from the 22nd to the 26th November 2019. It will witness the participation of the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Our very own Vishy Anand will also be present and it will be exciting to see if he can defend his blitz title that he won last year. The event garners further significance as it is the penultimate event of the Grand Chess Tour. Top four players with the highest cumulative score in the tour qualify for the finals in London to be held in December 2019. In this article, you will find all the information you need to follow this super tournament including the schedule, venue, prize money and more.

A super tournament with the best chess players on Indian soil was the dream of every Indian chess enthusiast. This was fulfilled in 2018 when Tata Steel Chess India was held in the city of Kolkata. Ten players fought it out in rapid and blitz format. The rapid event was won by Hikaru Nakamura, while India's very own Vishy Anand won the blitz. This was an excellent start, and the organizers decided to take it up a notch in 2019. The Tata Steel Chess India has now become a part of the Grand Chess Tour. It means that we have strongest ever tournament in the history of Indian chess ever, and the World Champion Magnus Carlsen is back to the country where he had successfully beaten Anand in Chennai in 2013 to clinch the highest title.

Participants of the Tata Steel Chess India 2019

Clockwise from top left: Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Vishy Anand, Anish Giri, Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Ian Nepomniachtchi, P. Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi

One could say this is the strongest Rapid and Blitz event ever to be held. You have short format experts like Carlsen, Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian, Nakamura and Nepomniachtchi and then you have players with high ratings like Ding Liren, Anish Giri, Wesley So. It will also be interesting to see if the two Indian wild cards P. Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi manage to create an impact like what Korobov did in the Superbet Rapid and Blitz in Romania.

Format of play:

The event will consist of three days of rapid and two days of blitz. There will be nine rounds of rapid and 18 rounds of blitz. The time control for rapid would most likely be 25 minutes + 10 second delay while for the blitz it would be 5 minutes + 3 seconds of delay.

Schedule:

The rounds on each day of the rapid will begin at 2 p.m. IST and for the blitz on the final day we will have the round beginning at 1 p.m.

21st of November is the technical meeting and the drawing of lots along with the inauguration and the opening dinner.

How to follow the event live:

We will be creating a separate live games page on the ChessBase India website tomorrow before the games begin, where you will not only be able to follow the games live, but also listen to the commentary by the official team and also get real time updates.

Tania Sachdev is the official commentator. She is the only one who will be present at the venue and will be working along with Peter Svidler, Yasser Seirawan, Jennifer Shahade and Maurice Ashley. | Photo: Amruta Mokal 

For all those who would like to attend the tournament at the venue in Kolkata can book their tickets from here.

Venue:

The venue of the tournament is the National Library of India. It is the biggest library in the country and has over 2.2 million books!

Prize fund:

The total prize fund of the event is US$ 1,50,000

Part of Grand Chess Tour:

The Grand Chess Tour is into its fifth year. It is series of events for the best players in the world. Although it is not related to the World Championship cycle, all the top players of the world take part in it because of the hefty prize fund. This year, in 2019, the Grand Chess Tour has extended itself to eight events and twelve participants. There are also wild cards added at different events to compete with the best players. The events are a mixture of classical chess as well as rapid and blitz. The Tata Steel Chess India is the seventh and the penultimate event in the Grand Chess Tour 2019. This is how the standings look until now:

Magnus Carlsen is in the lead with 54.5 points. As MVL and Sergey Karjakin have played all their five tour events, their score of 36.8 and 36.5 is final. Vishy Anand on 32 points has an excellent chance of overtaking them!

The top four finishers after the Tata Steel Chess India in terms of cumulative points will proceed to the super finals that will be held in London from 2nd to the 8th of December 2019. The London finals has an excellent prize fund of US$ 3,50,000. While Aronian's qualification looks almost certain, Vishy has to score five more points to finish fourth and make it to the finals.

This is how the points are allocated. Basically Anand has to finish sixth or above to make it to the finals.

Who is your favourite to win?

With Magnus Carlsen playing the event, he is definitely the favourite. However, recently Carlsen hasn't really shown his best form. At the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz, he finished sixth. He was unable to win the Sinquefield Cup and had to settle for the second spot behind Ding Liren and recently at the Fischer Random World Championships he was beaten by Wesley So in the finals. These results would make Magnus all the more hungry for the victory, but his task is not going to be easy! Who do you think will come out on top? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Coverage by ChessBase India

The ChessBase India team consisting of Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal, Shahid Ahmed and Satanick Mukhuty will be present at the venue to bring you detailed coverage include updates real time!

Sagar and Amruta travelling to Kolkata with Vidit Gujrathi and his sister Vedika

Shahid Ahmed is already present in Kolkata and brings you some great updates leading to the start of the event
16-year-old Aronyak Ghosh holds Ding Liren to a draw!

Check out the Tata Steel Chess India 2019 YouTube Playlist which already has 11 videos!