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Sport in Focus: Chess

Chess Game

Chess has always been one of my favourite sports. The COVID-19 lockdown that caused outdoor sports inaccessible gave the sport a major boost and reinvented the whole approach to it. Rather than just being complicated calculations, the collective efforts of enthusiasts all over the world made its new image entertaining, fun and appealing as well as encouraged more people to take up to it.

The wave generated enough hype for Netflix to produce a new series altogether on the game – The Queen’s Gambit- which is I am sure you have heard of at least, if not watched yet, and went on to win 11 Emmy Awards, including best limited series. Apart from that, there was also a trend of top-seeded Grandmasters like World Champion Magnus Carlsen and four-time US Champion Hikaru Nakamura taking  YouTube and other live streaming platforms, interacting with enthusiasts and giving their insights.

Throughout 2020, there were numerous online tournaments held and each was more intense than the previous. The highlights were the Indian team winning the Chess Olympiad jointly with Russia and the Comedians on Board tournaments with its unique take on the sport!

Equally interesting has been 2021. However, if you weren’t able to keep track, here are the recent Chess events :

  1. The Meltwater Champions Chess Tours Finals
Champions Chess Tour

It was the final phase of the Meltwater Champion Chess tours spanning 10 tournaments over 11 months in 2020-21. There were round-robin games were broadcasted live throughout YouTube, twitch and chess24. GM Magnus Carlsen won both the finals and came first in the overall tour standings as well. GM Wesley So came second in the final tour standings.

  1. Norway Chess 2021
Norway Chess 2021

The 6-player round-robin classical tournaments that saw some major shuffles in the Fide Rankings was played on-board in Stavanger, Norway. GM Magnus Carlsen won the tournament for the third time in a row, and the fourth in total. GM Alireza Firouza came second and third place was claimed by GM Richard Rapport both of whom made it to the world-top 10. Norway Chess also saw the world champion against world title challenger GM Ian Nepomniachtchi in classical games before the final showdown later this year.

  1. The Fide Chess World Cup
The Fide Chess World Cup

Held from 12th July to 6th August in Sochi, Russia over the board tournament saw Polish GM Jan Krzysztof Duda emerge as the winner by beating 2016 world-title challenger GM Sergey Karjakin. GM Magnus Carlsen secured the third position by beating GM Vladimir Fedoseev. India also had an amazing run at the World cup with exceptional performances from GM Vidit Gujrathi and GM Praggnanandhaa from an overall pool of 206 players.

  1. The Women’s Chess World Cup
The Women’s Chess World Cup

The 103-player all-women tournament was the first of its kind and was played over the board in Sochi, Russia from 10th July to 3rd August. It was won by GM Aleksandra Kosteniuk while the runner up was Alexandra Goryachkina. 

  1. Chess World Championship 2021
Chess World Championship 2021

The most-awaited match of 2021, it will be played between reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi to determine the World Chess Champion in DubaiUnited Arab Emirates, between 24 November and 16 December 2021. It was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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