Anand, Carlsen to face off in rapid and blitz chess championships in Kolkata
Two of modern chess’ biggest stars — Viswanathan Anand of Indian and Magnus Carlsen of Norway — will battle it out in rapid and blitz chess in the second edition of the Tata Steel India Chess Championships in November this year.
The Tata Steel Chess India, the country’s strongest rapid and blitz tournament, is part of the expanded Grand Chess Tour (GCT), a series of classical and rapid events with a total prize fund of $1.75 million. The GCT, which was started in 2015 with total five events, including the finals in London, has been expanded to eight events from this year and will be held between May 6 and December 10. The field of 12 players will play in two compulsory classical events and three of the five rapid and blitz events, which will have a field of 10 players each, including a couple of local wild card entrants.
The classical events will be held at Zagreb, Croatia (June 24-July 9) and St Louis, USA (Aug 15-30), while the rapid and blitz events will be held at Ivory Coast (May 6-11), Paris (July 26-Aug 2), St Louis (Aug 8-15), Bucharest, Romania (Nov 4-11) and Kolkata (Nov 20-27).
Both Anand and Carlsen have included Tata Steel India in their schedule as one of the three rapid and blitz events, the organisers announced on Wednesday.
Anand and Carlsen had played the World Championship match at Chennai in 2013 which the Norwegian had won rather easily. They met again in the 2015 World Championship match in Russia. That too the Norwegian won, albeit after a tougher fight.
Besides Anand and Carlsen, the others in the field at Tata Steel Chess India are Americans Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, Levon Aronian of Armenia, China’s Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia and Anish Giri, the Dutch grandmaster of Nepalese origin. Two wild card players picked by the Indian organisers will complete the field of 10 competitors. Nakamura, Wesley So and Aronian will be returning to Tata Steel Chess India, having played in the inaugural edition in Nov 2018. Nakamura won the rapid title while Anand claimed the blitz title.
Besides Kolkata, Carlsen has picked Ivory Coast and St Louis while Anand will participate in Paris and Bucharest besides announcing the two classical events. World Championship 2028 Challenger Fabiano Caruana, Shakriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are the other permanent competitors in GCT 2019. The top four at the end of the eight events will participate in the Finals in London from Nov 30 to Dec 9. Nakamura is the defending GCT champion, having beaten Maxime Vachier-Lagrave last year.