After a hiatus of nearly 15 months, Indian Grandmaster (GM) Viswanathan Anand will play his first over-the-board chess game in the Croatia Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament in Zagreb on Tuesday. The tournament will feature 10 elite GMs competing over nine rounds of rapid and 18 rounds of blitz chess. In rapid chess, each player with get 25 minutes to complete the game with 10 second increment time added after each move. In blitz game, players will get five minutes for the game with two seconds increment time added after each move.
The added attraction in the blitz section is the presence of chess legend and former World Champion Garry Kasparov, who enters as a wildcard player invited by the organisers.
Anand and Kasparov have waged many memorable battles including the PCA World Championships final on the 107th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York in September-October 1995. Anand will be participating in both Rapid and Blitz competition in Croatia.
Anand is in Croatia for the last few days, getting acclimatised and fulfilling the regulations related to COVID-19 protocols. The rapid section will be played from July 7 to 9 while the blitz games will be held on July 10 and 11.
The 51-year-old chess maestro from Chennai will be hoping to get some good results in the on-board games after having been fairly active in online chess.
He helped India finish joint-first with Russia in the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad last year. He has also been conducting training and education programmes for WestBridge Anand Chess Academy (WACA) and also helping some of the upcoming players of the country.
The 2021 edition of the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) — a series of classical, rapid and blitz tournament with a prize fund of $1.5 million involving top players from the world — features two classical and three rapid and blitz event. The GCT, which was launched in 2015, was not held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two events — the Superbet Chess Classic (June 3-15) and Paris GCT Rapid and Blitz (June 16-23) — have already been held while two more — Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz (August 9-16) and Sinquefield Cup (August 16-28) — will be held next month in Saint Louis, USA.