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Chennai Grand Masters 2023 - India's strongest ever Classical Super Tournament

by Sagar Shah - 11/12/2023

It's the last month of the year but we are ending the chess calendar of events on Indian soil with a bang! From 15th to 21st of December the first ever super tournament of the country is going to be held in Chennai India. It is sponsored and supported by the Tamil Nadu Government and Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu and organized by MGD1, NODWIN Gaming and ChessBase India. It's the strongest ever classical super tournament on Indian soil with a rating average of 2711. The main attraction of the event will be the two Indian youngsters Gukesh and Arjun Erigaisi trying to take on some of the best in the world - Maghsoodloo, Aronian and others. WE tell you all about the event that is beginning from the 15th of December 2023.

India's strongest ever Classical Super Tournament

Today is 11th of December 2023 - the 54th birthday of the legend of Indian chess - Viswanathan Anand. What better day than to announce the strongest ever classical super tournament on Indian soil. In fact this is the first time ever that a Classical Super Tournament (2700+ Elo average) is happening in the country. And it will happen in Vishy Anand's home town - Chennai.

The trailer of the Chess Grand Masters 2023

Indian chess has seen a huge boom in terms of the number of viewers following the sport, number of players reaching the top - in fact 4 out of the 16 players (Pragg, Vaishali, Vidit and Humpy) at the Candidates 2024 will be Indians.

The players of the Chennai Grandmaster

Parham Maghsoodloo (2742)

Arjun Erigaisi (2727)

Levon Aronian (2723)

D. Gukesh (2720)

Sanan Sjugirov (2703)

Pentala Harikrishna (2696)

Pavel Eljanov (2691)

Alexandr Predke (2689)

Rating average of the event: 2711 Elo

8 amazing grandmasters from 6 different countries are taking part in the Chennai Grand Masters 2023

We invited several of the top players in the world for this event. Some of them couldn't make it because of their schedule, some of them accepted the invitation and that is how this line-up was put together.

Sponsors and Organizers

A huge shout out to the Tamil Nadu Government and the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu for sponsoring the event and making it a reality. Their timely support has been extremely precious.

In the picture from Left to Right: Praggnanandhaa's mother Nagalakshmi, sports minister of Tamil Nadu Udhayanidhi Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.K. Stalin, Praggnanandhaa, Velammal Correspondent Velmohan, Pragg's father Rameshbabu

The event is jointly organized by three organizations together - MGD1, NODWIN Gaming and ChessBase India

Details about the event:

The tournament will be held from the 15th to the 21st of December 2023. Each day the round will begin at 3 p.m. IST with round 1 being on 15th of December and round 7 being on the 21st. The final round will begin slightly before the usual time.


Prize money:

Total fund: Rs.50 lakh (US$60,000)

1st place: Rs.15 lakh (US$18,000)

2nd place: Rs.10 lakh (US$12,000)

3rd place: Rs. 8 lakh (US$9,600)

4th place: Rs.5 lakh (US$6,000)

5th place: Rs. 4 lakh (US$4,800)

6th place: Rs.3.5 lakh (US$4,200)

7th place: Rs.2.5 lakh (US$3,000)

8th place: Rs.2 lakh (US$2,400)


Time format:

90 minutes for the entire game with 30 seconds increment per move for the entire game. There will be no second time control.


Venue of the tournament:

The venue of the event is the Leela Palace Hotel in Chennai. It is one of the finest hotels in the city. This is where all the players would be staying and this is also where the tournament will happen.

The hotel is just a stone's throw away from the venue



Sagar and Amruta will be the official commentators for the event and the event will be broadcast live on ChessBase India.

Every day after 2 hours of play we will have Anish Giri and Sopiko Guramishvili joining in the commentary team from their home in the Netherlands! Sopiko will be making a comeback to chess commentary after a long time. Anish Giri is a part of the FIDE circuit in a big way and his presence adds so much fun and excitement to the commentary.

People who made this event happen:

GM Srinath Narayanan has played an integral role in training some of the biggest talents in Indian chess. Well, his repertoire is now expanding in terms of how he has added value to Indian chess. This event was made possible because of his relentless efforts.

Manu and Sreekar, the co-founders of MGD1 worked around the clock to the make this tournament into a reality

Statement by Srinath Narayanan and MGD1

I am really proud of this moment, having the strongest classical tournament in India. As an individual or organisation, doing something we have never done before is always a challenge. In that sense, for us, this is a breakthrough moment, and a dream come true moment. We have close to 10 top players in India right now, apart from several top talents waiting in the wings. In a tournament abroad, at best, 1 or 2 players from India would get an opportunity. Having an invitational like this fills that gap to provide that much needed opportunity. We have 3 players out of 8 in this event, which is a humble beginning. Speaking of opportunities, a similar moment happened when Tamilnadu government stepped in to organise the 44th chess Olympiad. This gave opportunity to D.Gukesh who was part of the 2nd team to play in the tournament, and score an astounding 8/8. India could field a second team and Gukesh could play in the Olympiad only because India was the host. With the kind of talent base that we have, creating opportunities is the variable that will help take our present talents further towards the top. In that sense, I hope this is just the first step in a thousand mile journey, and an eco system of such high level tournaments sprout up in India. I think it is in a way fitting that this is happening in Chennai. The first international Master, the first grand master, the first chess Olympiad all came from Chennai. Now, we have the first classical tournament with a rating average above 2700. My heartfelt thanks to the TN government and Sports Development Authority of Tamilnadu for making this happen. - Srinath Narayanan, VP-Chess, MGD1

Statement by Sudhir Baliga, Head of Talent Management, NODWIN Gaming

We hope to marry the expertise that NODWIN Gaming brings to broadcast and production to the world of chess and make this a grand show! We are extremely excited to be part of the strongest ever classical super tournament in the country. A big thanks to the Tamil Nadu Government for making this a reality.

Special Thanks

A special thanks to FIDE Advisory board chairman Bharat Singh Chauhan who played a major role in ensuring that Parham Maghsoodloo gets his visa on time.

Timely help was also given by Gopakumar MS with regards to Parham's visa. Gopakumar is one of the most reputed International Arbiters in the country and is also the chief arbiter of the event. He will be assisted by Arasu B. as the deputy chief arbiter.

A huge shoutout to the following people who went out of their way to help with the visa of Parham Maghsoodloo - Neeraj Kumar (IRS officer), Swapnil Tembe (IAS), Sridharan Madhusudhan (IFS), Tanmaya Lal (IFS). With their timely help we are able to have the top seed Parham Maghsoodloo in our event. A big thanks to Prakhar Sinha for his calculations of the FIDE circuit points and helping us with all the calculations along the way.

FIDE circuit and Candidates possibilities

Currently Anish Giri is leading the FIDE Circuit. Not so far away from him are Gukesh and Arjun

To reach the top of the leaderboard in FIDE Circuit, Arjun needs to win outright. He would then surpass Anish Giri by a whisker.

Gukesh needs to do one of:

a) Win outright or finish tied 1st-2nd with any tie-breaks

b) Tie 1st -3rd but be top in top 2 by tie-breaks

c) Tie with up to 5 players but be top on tie breaks

Currently Wesley So has the highest rating with 2757.4. Dominguez is playing at the Sunway Sitges starting shortly. Parham Maghsoodloo has an outside chance if he manages to 14.2 Elo points from the event. Not at all easy, but not impossible.

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