Chess Blitzkrieg

'Battle for the Queen' tournament,played in a rapid chess format,attracts more than 600 participants

Written by Shahid Judge | Published: September 4, 2013 1:08 am

By associating themselves to adrenaline-driven sports such as Formula One and bungee jumping,to name a couple,Red Bull have pretty much justified their catch line which aptly says,”gives you wings.” Now,the energy drink giants have associated themselves to a sport which is in stark contrast to the philosophy they’ve adopted so far: chess.

When he won the final of the under-7 state chess championships,Anand Nadar was given a gold medal and a certificate,standard mementos in the sport,to commemorate his efforts. The 12-year-old now has the chance of winning a different kind of prize: a chance to play against Grandmaster and Asian Champion Tania Sachdev. “My favourite player is Magnus Carlsen,” he says. “But it’s always great to play against big players.” The first of its kind ‘Battle for the Queen’ tournament serves to represent the fact that the ‘Queen’ is the most powerful piece on the chessboard,while metaphorically addressing Sachdev herself.

The organiser claim it isn’t a usual chess tournament that is played under the normal rules. By choosing the quick paced format for the tournament,the results witnessed in the Mumbai leg were what the organisers set out to achieve.

The rapid chess format (also known as blitz chess),which was adopted for the tournament,meant the participants were required to finish their games within five minutes. As a result,the players in Mumbai hardly had any time to contemplate a move and preferred making quick moves. The high intensity matches also led to slight chaos. The organisers had to constantly change the time-keeping machines,which were damaged after the players furiously tapped it whereas the chess pieces were also accidentally getting knocked off the table in the rush of moves.

And with the fans turned off to avoid blowing the pieces off the table,the heat was on the players. Quite literally. The high temperature inside the hall and the fast-paced nature of the game resulted in several arguments between the players. But the officials were quick to calm things down.

The venue for this tournament were also carefully chosen. Organisers the idea was to emphasize on the rich history of chess. Agra was thoughtfully selected as the host city for the final since Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was a keen player himself.

In turn,the Mumbai leg,the last before the grand finale,was strategically organised to reflect the theme. The venue chosen was Wilson College,which predates the University of Mumbai by 25 years,hence making it the oldest college in Mumbai. The Gothic architecture styled building provided well to define the lineage related to the sport.

Since Battle for the Queen was was open for non-professional participants,the audience that attended in all the four legs belonged to various occupations. Consequently,the organisers have reported over 600 registrations through the entire tournament,Mumbai itself claiming about 150 participants.

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