Tata Steel Chess India: An elite field of participants

A brief look at the 11 participants in the tourney that commences on November 9 in Kolkata.

File Photo: Viswanathan Anand (left) will be a star attraction.   -  AP

Tata Steel Chess India, a rapid and blitz tourney, is set to commence on November 9 in Kolkata. Here is a brief look at the 11 participants — thumbnail sketches (as per rapid ratings).


Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2844, Age: 30): With world rankings of second in rapid and third in blitz, he is the man to beat this week. In August, his triumph in the St. Louis rapid and blitz event is an indication of recent form in the format, he loves.


Wesley So (USA, 2808, Age: 25): Won the rapid and blitz titles in Norway, France and Belgium this year. Though his form in the classical format has dipped a little, he looks determined to regain the winning form in the shorter format.


 Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2802, Age: 36): Winner of the 2017 St. Louis rapid and blitz title ahead of the game’s elite, that included the legendary Gary Kasparov, the 2005 World Cup champion is looking for form.


 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2794, Age: 33): The 2013 World rapid champion believes he is one of the better players in blitz. This two-time world junior champion has won several titles in the shorter formats of the game.


 Sergey Karjakin (Russia, 2792, Age: 28): Runner-up to Magnus Carlsen in the 2016 World blitz championship, the former member of the Ukraine national team, is a proven force in all time-controls.


 P. Hari Krishna (India, 2743, Age: 32): The second strongest Indian in chess history has victories in the shorter formats against So and Aronian besides scoring over Nakamura and Karjakin in the classical form.


Viswanathan Anand (India, 2737, Age: 48) Reigning World rapid champion and a bronze medallist in World blitz, has won more titles in the shorter formats than any other player. Winner of the Tal Memorial event in March, he is searching his lost form in the format he once dominated.


 Vidit Gujarati (India, 2660, Age: 24): He is still honing is skills in the shorter formats having impressed one and all with his consistency in the classical form. In fact, he is a losing quarterfinalist to Wesley So in the ongoing Speed chess championship.


 Surya Shekhar Ganguly (India, 2608, Age: 35): Once a prodigy, he somehow lost his way after promising much. He is part of this field to provide the local interest. Capable of springing a surprise or two this week.


 Nihal Sarin (India, 2127, Age; 14): Currently ranked World No. 1 in the Under-14 section, he is going to play only the rapid section. Winner of the 2013 World (under-10) blitz title and 2014 Asian (under-10) rapid and blitz titles.


 R. Praggnanandhaa (India, blitz rating 1736, Age 13: This prodigy will replace Nihal Sarin for the blitz-leg of the event. After hitting the headlines by becoming the second youngest Grandmaster in chess history this year, he has raised the curiosity quotient of the chess world.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :