Hou Yifan. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)CHENNAI: Women's World no. 1 Hou Yifan boasts of an impressive resume --- excelling both in chess and academics. The former women's world champion not only remains the player to beat in her category but has also donned a new role - of a professor --- at the Shenzhen University last week. In a chat with TOI, the 26-year-old Rhodes Scholar talks about balancing chess with academics, why Magnus Carlsen is the most complete player and more. Excerpts:You haven't played many tournaments in the last few years. What made you do so in recent months?I didn't feature in many tournaments as I was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and doing my
Pentala Harikrishna. (TOI Photo)KOLKATA: Pentala Harikrishna will be the first Indian chess player to return to 'real thing' when he takes part in the Biel International Festival from Saturday. At a time when sportspersons have been forced to stay indoors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Harikrishna will step out of his home in Prague. "I will be flying to Switzerland," Hari told TOI on Tuesday. "I am really excited to play on the board again," he added. "My last game over the board was in the Bundesliga and my last closed event was Prague Masters. Both the events took place in February. So it has been quite some time since I played over the board. I think all chess players
Getty ImagesCHENNAI: If India is ranked fourth in world chess, produced a world champion and a couple of world junior champions, is home to two women players ranked second and ninth in the world, a boy and a girl ranked eighth and 10th in the world, it is not due to the system, but despite the system, fume chess players across the country. The chess players have outpoured their pent-up frustration, anger after Grandmaster (GM) RB Ramesh tweeted the neglect of chess players and coaches by the central government for Arjuna and Dronacharya awards. Chess players also felt the All India Chess Federation (AICF) should have argued the chess players and coaches' case with the government. "Indians understand cricket. Chess
Getty ImagesNAGPUR: Maharashtra’s youngest Grandmaster (GM) Raunak Sadhwani surprised world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana and grabbed the attention of global masters late on Tuesday night. After becoming the first player from Nagpur to qualify for the eight-player knockout stage, the 15-year-old toppled the star world championship challenger and American GM Caruana in the quarterfinals of the 644-participant online blitz championship. Earlier, in the 10-round Speed Chess Championship Online Grand Prix, Raunak finished the event in joint second position. While Caruana finished on top collecting nine points, Raunak, with 8.5 points and a progressive score of 47.75, had a tie for the second position with six others. In the final ranking, Raunak was adjudged at the eighth position and qualified for
KOLKATA: Grandmaster RB Ramesh resigned from the post of the chief of the selection committee of All India Chess Federation (AICF) protesting against interference in Indian team selection process for the online Chess Olympiad team by Bharat Singh Chauhan. The ongoing factional feud in the AICF reared its ugly head again when the two warring groups named separate sides for the world team event which is scheduled to begin from July 22. However, the groups led by president PR Venketerama Raja and secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan arrived at some consensus but not before raising a lot of storm. It was learnt that Chauhan insisted on including the name of a Delhi player to which Ramesh objected as that player did
Getty ImagesCHENNAI: Putting to rest the controversy of a different set of players suggested by the two factions in the All India Chess Federation (AICF), the player selection committee has told the factions as to the players who are all eligible to represent the nation in the upcoming Online Chess Olympiad as per the existing criteria, said a committee member. "The Selection Committee has sent its decision to the two factions of the AICF by email. The actual players who play will be known only after AICF decides on these names and communicates it to players and players confirm their availability. We only ensure the laid out rules are followed in selecting the team, we don't decide the team. If
File image of Viswanathan Anand (TOI photo)KOLKATA: Former World champion Bobby Fischer remains one of the most enigmatic characters that world chess has ever produced. India’s first Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand had the opportunity of meeting the eccentric genius in 2006, a couple of years before the US-born player passed away. “I remember playing a blitz event at Reykjavik in Iceland,” Anand said during a conversation with GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly on his YouTube show. However, the India No. 1 player said he himself did not make an effort to meet Fischer. “It was Iceland GM Helgi Olafsson who asked me if I would like to meet Fischer, which obviously you don’t decline,” Anand stated. Fisher settled down at Reykjavik after
File image of Magnus Carlsen (TOI Photo)CHENNAI: Magnus Carlsen, the world's most ruthless chess player, has been widely praised after he showed incredible sportsmanship to resign on move four of a game on Tuesday night. The world champion provided a moment of magic in the $150,000 online Chessable Masters as he intentionally gifted rival Ding Liren a point in their high-stakes semifinal clash. It came after the Chinese No. 1 suffered an unfortunate disconnection at a vital moment during Tuesday's play. But while moments of mercy are rare in elite-level chess, that didn't stop Carlsen wanting to make amends. Ding, playing behind his country's notorious internet firewall, has been plagued by connection problems throughout the online super-tournament. In the pair's
(Twitter Photo)CHENNAI: The second Grand Prix leg of the women’s online speed chess championships, organized by FIDE, will commence from July 1. World no. 9 D Harika, who qualified for this stage after being part of the Swiss tournament earlier this month, is among those vying for top honours in this leg. The 29-year-old is clearly not taking much pressure ahead of the event. “All I want to do is work hard and give 100 percent and play, rest (I will take) whatever comes,” Harika told TOI on the eve of the event. More than mulling a lot about the results, Harika is happy just to be able to play the game in these uncertain times. “Right now, we don’t
Representational photo. (Getty Images) CHENNAI: Magnus Carlsen will have a chance to defend his World title only in 2021. The FIDE World chess championship clash that was earlier slated to be held in Dubai from December 20 this year stands postponed. The keenly-awaited contest was planned to take place alongside the Dubai Expo. A few months ago, the Dubai Expo was postponed and it will now kick off only from October 1, 2021. “We have a couple of options in front of us which are: March-April in 2021 or autumn 2021,” said Emil Sutovsky, Director General of FIDE. While a few countries have begun to slowly have over-the-board tournaments, a majority of nations across the world are still reeling from
CHENNAI: The covid-19 pandemic has made everyone take social distancing seriously. Viswanathan Anand, after being stranded in Germany for about three months, may have returned home but he sees a lot of changes in his behavior since the advent of Coronavirus. “The most unusual thing is how much I have internalized the coronavirus in the sense that -- now I automatically keep distance from people. I just assume that the day will go by without me seeing anyone. This kind of behavior has become so habitual. When this phase gets over, it will take some time before we all become social again,” Anand told TOI. Had things been normal, Anand would have been travelling the world to feature in tournaments.
Valentina Gunina. (Photo credit: Salah Malkawi/Getty Images)CHENNAI: Russian Grandmaster Valentina Gunina was the last player to have qualified for the Grand Prix stage of the ongoing women’s online speed chess organized by the FIDE. However, the 31-year-old showed her mettle on Wednesday to beat WGM Tatev Abrahamyan 8.5-3.5 to move into the quarterfinals of the first leg of the Grand Prix stage on Wednesday. “Yesterday (Tuesday) I was very tired because I participated in all six qualifier rounds. And today I had to wake up early for the match (7am). When you wake up so early for a match, your brain doesn’t work irrespective of who is there in the opposition,” Gunina revealed to the tournament website after her victory.
Anish Giri. (TOI Photo)CHENNAI: It was a good day at the office for Dutch GM Anish Giri as he made it the quarterfinals of the Chessable Masters. He topped Group B with 6 points. Giri said afterward: “I knew today that I would have to be fighting from the first game to the last so I was ready for that but I was quick lucky along the way.” On his Round 7 win, he said: "I was slightly better against Ding but it was going to be a draw and then he disconnected. I'm really happy for him that he bounced back because it would be so unfortunate for him if he had to finish last because of the disconnect."
Viswanathan Anand. (TOI Photo)CHENNAI: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand has over the years enthralled many across the world with his moves on the board and the humility off it. The 50-year-old legend continues to inspire many to take up the sport and till date - remains one of the strongest players. Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly has worked extensively with Anand over the years and - on his YouTube channel - revealed an incident that showed the fan following the chess ace enjoyed. “We were travelling from Frankfurt to Berlin for an event. We arrived at the Berlin railway station and took a taxi to our hotel. Anand was staying in one while I was in another hotel. The idea was
Magnus Carlsen. (Getty Images)CHENNAI: World champion Magnus Carlsen dug deep and delivered the goods when it mattered the most as he beat Fabiano Caruana with a scoreline of 9.5-8.5 to win the Clutch Chess International tournament late on Sunday night. In a contest that saw both players not give an inch, Carlsen found himself in a precarious position as he had lost Game 11. However, things changed in Game 12 as Carlsen showed why he is regarded as one of the best in the business. He not only won that crucial tie but also made sure he had his hands on the top prize. The world champion said he was relaxed as he entered the 12th game. "I was fairly
CHENNAI: Indian Grandmaster P Harikrishna finished second in the Sharjah online chess championship with a score of 6.5 points after losing the final round to Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek. Former World Rapid champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, the top seed, emerged winner with 7.5 points from 10 rounds and remained unbeaten in the double round-robin tourney. Mamedyarov won $3,000 while the second-seed Harikrishna received $ 2,250. Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek secured the third position with six points. Finished 2nd in @shj_masters World stars online #chess championship! https://t.co/W3IyTYSe0G— Harikrishna (@HariChess) 1592112431000There were some interesting games on the second day with host player Salem Saleh missing a chance to win the final round against Mamedyarov. Harikrishna lost to Mamedyarov in round two.
Viswanathan Anand with wife Aruna. (File Photo by TOI)CHENNAI: After enduring an agonizing three months of self-isolation in Germany and a 14-day quarantine period on his arrival in India, Viswanathan Anand finally got to be with his family --- wife Aruna and son Akhil --- here on Sunday. Anand --- who had arrived in the city last weekend after finishing the 7-day institutional quarantine in Bengaluru --- went on to complete the other half quarantine at home. The 50-year-old chess ace had an eventful reunion with his nine-year-old son as they two spent ample amount of the day in playtime. "It was a lovely surprise for our son Akhil who got to be with his father after so many months.
MUMBAI: Five-time world champion Vishwanathan Anand feels the advent of computers has changed the way players have approached chess over the years, with the two opponents sitting in front of the board remaining the only constant in the game. Talking about his journey, the former world champion said he had to work hard to become the player he is today. "I was six years old when my older brother and sister were playing chess, and then I went to my mom and asked her to teach me as well. My progress as a chess player wasn't sudden, it came through lots of hard work over many years," Anand said on Star Sports show 'Mind Masters' "The chess I learnt in the 80s, we
It’s been over 3 months now since the world has been fighting and grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hundreds of countries globally are living under various degrees of lockdown, and industrial and human activities are at their lowest in more than a century. I too have been stranded in Bad Soden, Germany since March, unable to get back to my family in India. While it has been difficult to be alone in such times, it has also given me a chance to reflect upon many things – how our modern lifestyles focus on our demands more than our needs, what we value as success in today’s world, and how our education system prepares us for life. Just