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Updated: August 28, 2013 19:26 IST

‘The tide’s changing’

UDHAV NAIG
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Tania Sachdev
Special Arrangement
Tania Sachdev

Chess ace Tania Sachdev says that unlike earlier, small tournaments too get hundreds of entries today

South India’s hegemony in the world of chess in India has never been challenged as much as it is today. The exponential increase in the number of chess enthusiasts across India should be attributed, apart from the interest shown by corporates and the government to create better facilities and opportunities, to the success of players outside South India.

The fun format

In this scenario, every chess event held in the country gains significance. Such as this one — the Redbull Battle For The Queen, a Blitz Chess Championship held across four metros in India. It will see Women Grand Master and Asian Chess Champion Tania Sachdev challenged by the winner in front of the Taj Mahal. “The blitz format adopted in this event is challenging. I decided to participate, as the tournament itself was designed in an interactive way,” says the 27-year-old. The Blitz Chess rules require the players to complete all their moves within a fixed amount of time — five mins in this case. The format promises to provide lots of ‘fun’ when compared to the regular games.

Playing against a Grandmaster is a massive opportunity for any youngster. Will the Chess champion go easy on the youngster? “I don’t think so,” laughs Tania, and adds, “I am sure the winner will be good and fun to play with.”

The manner in which big brands are backing chess is reflective of the way the game has been embraced by people across India. “Ten years ago, there was hardly any enthusiasm for the game. Now, even small tournaments get hundreds of entries. It is good to see the tide changing,” she says.

Tough competition

Much of this is also the result of superior training made possible by the use of technology. “I have been playing professional chess for the last 10 years, and there were no computers back then. Competing with players from Russia and China requires advanced levels of training, and it is great to see kids aged eight or nine having access to computers to train.”

So, what are her plans going forward? “I am currently ranked 43 in India, and my goal is to break into the top 20.”

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