There are tournaments which are organized just for the sake of making money and there are the ones which are set up to ensure that the players get the best possible conditions and treatment. The IIFLW International definitely falls into the second category. Sagar Shah went to the Mount Litera school and tells us about the different innovations and ideas that have been implemented. It's not just a tournament, it's a festival!
The second edition of the IIFLW International is taking place in Mumbai from the 26th of December to the 3rd of January 2017. On one of the days of the event, I decided to visit the venue and get a feel of one of the biggest tournaments in the Indian chess circuit.
The entrace to the Mount Litera School, Mumbai, where the tournament is being played
The Bandra Kurla Complex is a planned commercial complex in the city of Mumbai
As you enter you are greeted with statements like these and logos of the sponsors. If you look closely you will see the logo of ChessBase India. We are the technology partners!
The main building of the Mount Litera school. It is one of the best CBSE curriculum schools in India.
On the way to the entrance I met Mohammad Fahad and his parents. Fahad finished second in the first edition of the IIFLW International. He is a rising star and the most promising player from Bangladesh.
Parents and kids waiting outside as there is still some time for the round to begin
Soon enough the players start filling in. The playing hall is, perhaps, one of the best that I have ever seen.
The parents are cordoned off and they retreat into the waiting arena after the games begin. But before that there are always a few interesting announcements.
In a bid to make children play exciting, enterprising and interesting games ChessBase India has sponsored 18 one year ChessBase Premium Accounts (one for the open and one of under-13 in each round) for the best game of the day. (picture by Peter Long)
A lucky draw winner in each round gets life time membership of the Follow Chess App (picture by Peter Long)
Praful Zaveri with the ChessBase India Jackpot prize
In order to make things more interesting we have a Jackpot prize this year. Players have to guess who would finish 14th at the end of the event! The chits were distributed during the fourth round and the answers had to be submitted until the end of the fifth round. At the time of submission there is no way you can be sure who would finish 14th. If your guess is correct, you win a jackpot prize of ChessBase products worth Rs.14,000/-
And what's all this obsession with the number 14? Well, it's because ChessBase 14, the most important software from ChessBase, has just been released.
That's what the chits look like. They were placed on the boards of all the players.
I saw this young boy confidently writing who he thought would finish 14th. I went towards and asked him, this is what he had to say:
The boy is sure that he will finish 14th!
D. Gukesh is the top seed in the under-13 section. He takes some time to relax himself before the game begins.
Gukesh is just 10 years old, but already boasts of a rating of 2236. His father accompanies him to most of the events. What's the secret behind this young boy's fantastic progress?
This picture should give you the answer. After finishing his game Gukesh and his father went to the nearby food court. They were analyzing the game on the tablet as well as getting ready for the next round in the open section! Now that's some serious bit of dedication!
Peter Long from Malaysia enjoying the Gujrati delicacy Khaman Dhokla. Peter is a FIDE Trainer, an International Arbiter and a FIDE Master. He is also the project manager for Kasparov Chess Foundation in Asia-Pacific.
In case you have two minutes, you can enjoy hot and freshly prepared Maggi noodles!
There's also juices, chips and other refreshments to keep you energized during the game
Some of the best books for beginners written by FI Praful Zaveri are on sale
If chess has become too heavy for you, you can come to the Gaming Zone and unwind
Although not as complicated as chess, Battle-ship helps you to develop the art of making educated guesses
The evergreen Ludo!
There's the card game Uno (left) and Jenga Blocks (right).
Parents can relax watching some film in the movie room. On that particular day it was Knights of the South Bronx. It is a 2005 television film about a teacher who helps students at a tough inner-city school to succeed by teaching them to play chess.
There are also workshops each day to educate parents and students about different topics. For example IM Vishal Sareen held a session for Q & A with parents, there was Zumba class and so on. The new year begins with a technology workshop where I teach how to best make use of the ChessBase softwares
One of the most exciting parts about the tournament is meeting your old friends. Here IM Anup Deshmukh (right) and IM Shekhar Sahu meet each other after a long time!
Two gems of Indian chess: IM Wazeer Ahmad and IM Nasir Ali (right). Wazeer at the age of 69 became the 65+ Asian Champion, while Nasir Ali is one of the all time greats of Indian chess having drawn against legendary players like Taimanov. Nasir Ali is now 81 years old!
Narendra Savarkar learnt chess when he was 74 years old. He wanted to teach his grand daughter the game. He is now 78, completely hooked to the game, and plays in various tournaments in Mumbai and Pune
IM Nubairshah Sheikh is the National Junior runner-up of India. He had his exams coming up and was suffering from bad health. But he came to the tournament. According to Nubair, chess helps him forget all the worries and tensions!
Smiling and affable WIM from Uzbekistan Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva
Mumbai has been searching for a grandmaster since quite some time now. After Pravin Thipsay there has been no one. CM Aditya Mittal might well provide the answer to this question. Have you checked some of his amazing analysis from the London Chess Classic. Don't miss it!
Gunjan and Sumit are from Event Capital. They are here to register the event as an Intellectual Property (IP). "With so many innovations, this is more like a festival than just a tournament," says Gunjan. Once this is registered as an IP, it becomes easier to attract sponsorship, and also discourage people from plagiarism.
It's really fun to be at the IIFLW International tournament. There is something in there for everyone! Today is a Sunday and if you do not have anything planned for the day, why don't you come to Mount Litera and enjoy this experience first hand.
On a parting note we leave you with the views of the main organizer Praful Zaveri who tells us all about the new ideas that he has implemented and what new plans he is already thinking about for the third edition: