Former World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand donned a new hat when he turned into a coach for former India captain and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly at the ‘Draw of Lots’ ceremony of 2019 Tata Steel Chess India Rapid & Blitz in Kolkata.
While it was Ganguly who played the first move with the World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen at the ‘Draw of Lots’ it was under the supervision of the five-times World Champion.
However, that itself turned into a moment of nostalgia for Ganguly as he was reminded of the first move he made on the board. “This reminds of my first chess game with my father, said Ganguly.
Making the first move against reigning champion Carlsen the Prince of Kolkata came up with an ‘e4’ to begin the blitz.
Anand and Carlsen will once again be seen with Ganguly when they set foot inside the clubhouse of Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata when India plays Bangladesh in the first day and night test match.
This event is the strongest rapid and blitz tournament in the country and 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.
Blitz chess, also known as Speed Chess, is a single, time-controlled game of 1-10 minutes. Playing Blitz chess creates a flurry of moves, as both players hustle to complete their respective halves of a chess game, depending on which rule set they’re playing under.
Other than the blazing-fast speed required to complete a full chess game in such little time, the standard rules of movement, capture, and game-ending apply.
The 2019 edition of this event will become the first GCT event ever to be held in Asia when the event commences in Kolkata.
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.
Last season, GM Hikaru Nakamura won the rapid segment while the hometown favourite GM Viswanathan Anand recorded a memorable victory in the blitz in the 2018 edition.
For Anand, the City of Joy holds a special place. “I came here in 1986 for the first time and enjoyed the tournament last year. So am looking forward to a good finish here.”
One of the most exciting clashes in this edition will be the fight of two champions – Anand and Carlsen. But downplaying the hype Anand said, “It’s a difficult match but one among many . same preparations for that match as other games.”.
This year, the best chess players in the world will compete in the city. GM Hikaru Nakamura is back in again this year along with Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Wesley So and wildcards Pentala Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi.