Anand Wins Tata Steel Chess India Blitz
Anand with Tata Steel's VP of raw materials, Chanakya Chaudhary. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Anand Wins Tata Steel Chess India Blitz

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Nov 14, 2018, 11:03 PM |
29 | Chess Event Coverage

Viswanathan Anand won the Tata Steel Chess India blitz tournament in Kolkata. "It was just the most magical day," said the Indian superstar, who tied for first with Hikaru Nakamura with 12.5/18 and then defeated the American grandmaster in the playoff.

"I'm really, really happy. There's something about winning an event that's just extra special."

Eleven months after winning the world rapid title in Saudi-Arabia, Anand, now 48 years old, won yet another strong event. His victory in the blitz in Kolkata was the cherry on the cake for the local organizers and fans, who can look back at a very successful inaugural Tata Steel Chess India event.

"To win this tournament, and to win it at home, is amazing," said Anand.

Anand Trent Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Anand during a small interview with Lawrence Trent during the prize giving. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

There was not a single person in the room who begrudged Anand's win, and that included his opponent in the tiebreak, Nakamura. He showed great sportsmanship in the small speech he gave by calling Anand the "deserving winner" and "a truly great chess player."

The second and final day of blitz started with Nakamura leading the pack with 6.5/9, half a point more than Wesley So. Aronian was a full point behind the leader, and both Anand and Harikrishna were trailing by 1.5 points.

Anand's day was indeed magical as he scored an undefeated 7.5/9 in the final nine rounds, and 1.5/2 in the playoff. His performance rating on Wednesday was over 3000.

Nakamura ("obviously a monster in blitz"—Anand) ended up equal first with Anand as he scored 1.5 points fewer on the last day. A key game was his loss to Pentala Harikrishna in round 11. The Indian player has played a number of excellent games here in Kolkata.

Pentala Harikrishna Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Harikrishna receiving the second prize for the rapid. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Still, Nakamura had fate in his own hands in the final round, after Anand had drawn his game with Levon Aronian. All he had to do was beating the tail-ender, Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu. However, the 13-year-old once again showed his talent. He had drawn Naka in round nine, and he managed again in round 18:

Praggnanandhaa Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's 8/18 was disappointing. Here's his win vs Vidit Santosh Gujrathi from round 12:

Mamedyarov Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Vidit also suffered against the eventual winner, who ruthlessly refuted his early Nf3-e5. One pin is all Anand needed.

Playing hall Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

The playing hall during round 12. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Local hero Surya Shekhar Ganguly had a hard time in both the rapid and the blitz, but he also had his occasional nice wins, such as the following against So:

Ganguly Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Surya Ganguly. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

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Anand and Nakamura tied for first, which meant a playoff. Two more games of blitz were played, with a time control of three minutes plus two seconds increment. Anand got to play White in the first.

Anand Nakamura playoff Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

A packed playing hall once again, enjoying a thrilling playoff. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Nakamura needed to win the second game to force an Armageddon, but didn't manage to do it. In front of a crowd of more than 300, Anand held the draw in a very tense game and won his first tournament on home soil in 16 years.

Nakamura Anand playoff Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Nakamura offers his hand, and so Anand wins. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

In his interview with in the live broadcast, Anand emphasized the importance of this new event in India. "It's a very big step," he said. "It was symbolic that it was Tata who brought it here, because they hold already the greatest tradition in chess in Wijk aan Zee; they inherited that but kept it for 12 years afterwards, and it's really nice they're starting this. It's a big step for Indian chess."

Watch the final day's broadcast with IMs Tania Sachdev and Lawrence Trent.

Anand Nakamura prizes Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Nakamura with his first prize for the rapid and his second prize for the blitz next to blitz winner Anand. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Praggnanandhaa Tata Steel Chess India Blitz 2018

Meanwhile, Praggnanandhaa is already a star as well! | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.


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