The Tata Steel Chess India Tournament has been opened at the Terrace Garden of the Taj Bengal hotel in Kolkata. The new super-tournament will start with the Rapid event on November 9 at 2pm.
The players were introduced to the audience by tournament director Jeroen van de Berg.
Viswanathan Anand, who has not played in a tournament in India for over two decades, said today at the inaugural ceremony: “First, tournaments like the Tata Steel Chess India tournament are important because it fills the gap in India where elite meets like this are missing. Second, it is very special to play at home but I’m not more nervous because of that. I am very happy to be here in Kolkata, though I do remember that I missed my GM norm during a tournament here in 1992!”
World No. 3 (Classical) Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: “It’s not about the ELO ratings. In this tournament, 7 to 8 players have a very good chance of winning.”
When asked whether his Rapid (No. 2) and Blitz (No.3) rankings made him the top seed at this tournament, Hikaru Nakamura said: “I don’t care about rankings. We are all here just to play and enjoy the chess.”
Mr Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President (Corporate Services), Tata Steel, said: “Welcome to the first-ever Tata Steel Chess India. Chess is quite a religion here in India and especially in Kolkata. We hope that this tournament will excite many more people to be connected with chess in India. We are particularly happy that Mr Viswanathan Anand has helped us put this together. We hope to see this grow annually as we go ahead.”
Photos by Lennart Ootes: