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Tania brings chess to Chennai corporates

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 11/05/2016

The corporate world has always been interested in bonding over sports and games. Golf's success is something chess can emulate, says Vishal Sareen. He, along with Tania Sachdev, orchestrated a chess event for the corporates on 28 April 2016 in Chennai that was well received and enjoyed by all. We bring you an illustrated report with Vishal's inputs.

Tania brings chess to Chennai corporates 

Inputs by IM Vishal Sareen


The corporate world has always been interested in bonding over sports and games. Golf has been universally accepted to be an elite sport, one which the executives in these companies can easily play. Towards the end of April, IM Vishal Sareen was orchestrating a chess event with the support of Red Bull and Ascendas in the International Tech Park in Chennai. From a sporting perspective, chess can be arguably termed as a more demanding game, but there is no dearth of corporate interest in India. How do we know? We'll let Vishal answer that.


"It was a completely new idea where we just put together a Chess tournament and the top ten players qualified to play a simultaneous exhibition with Tania Sachdev. I reached Chennai two days before the event and just 12 people had registered by that time. By the time we were ready to start, we had over fifty players. We decided to wait for another 15 minutes, and pouring they came. We eventually closed at about 100 entries, but they still came in after the start of the first round. We took them until round two and even then there were many who kept asking if they could join in!" Vishal exclaims enthusiastically.

The qualification tournament in progress.

The event was actually a brainchild of Tania herself and Red Bull came forward to support her in pursuing this.

Ascendas was the co-host of this festival as they promoted the event in the IT park that houses about 20,000 employees working in over three massive buildings.


"The essence of this event was to promote the game in the corporate world as they hardly ever get a chance to compete given their busy schedules," Vishal explains. He further adds, "A real championship between the corporates of the country is what will probably make them come forward. In turn, we can also look for some possible sponsorship opportunities through them in times to come. Just another step to make the game more popular."


The time control was five minutes blitz with Tania played against the top ten finishers. The tournament atmosphere was fun-filled and yet exciting, but surprisingly, quite serious as well. There were some interesting incidents too. Vishal recounts,"One guy, during the seventh round, came to me and asked if he can skip his game as he had an important call to attend. I said, 'fine you can come back and play the next round.' Off he went running and in fact finished his call to come just back just in time to play the same round!"

The simultaneous exhibition with the ten qualifiers of the blitz tournament was a truly entertaining affair as Tania got twenty minutes while her opponents had ten minutes on their clocks with a ten seconds addition after every move is made.

Tania playing Sudhakar Mani, a software engineer.

The high point was that Tania's clock would keep running at all time! By move 12, already, she was level on time with most of her competitors, and by move 20 she was seriously short on time on many boards.

Once she was down to last one minute in any of the games, we asked her opponents to stop the clock after they made their moves and start only when Tania reached their board. Fair enough.

Overall the excitement was high. We heard loud cheers when Tania lost her first game, and when she lost the second, a regal invasion on the kingside, there were massive claps, cheers and also some whistles! Here is that game which created so much buzz.

[Event "Red Bull & Ascendas Simul 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.05.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sachdev, Tania"]
[Black "R. , Shivram"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D27"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[SourceDate "2016.05.12"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bxc4 e6 5. Nf3 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 c5 8. Qe2
a6 9. a4 Qc7 10. Rd1 Rd8 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Bd2 Nc6 13. Bd3 b6 14. Rac1 Bb7 15.
Bc2 Rac8 16. Bb1 Ne5 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. Be1 Qg5 19. Qf1 Bd6 20. f4 Qh5 21. h3
Bc5 22. Bf2 g5 23. e4 gxf4 24. Rxd8+ Rxd8 25. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 26. Kh1 Qg5 27. Qf2
Nh5 28. Qxb6 Ng3+ 29. Kh2 f3 30. Rg1 Rd2 31. Qxb7 Rxg2+ 32. Rxg2 Nf1+ 0-1


An event like this brings the sportsperson closer to the masses, thus playing a vital role in its elevation.

Vishal adds with a smile, "We plan to replicate it in different cities as and when the opportunity arises. The idea is take it to new people and have more and more players test their chess skills and, who knows, if we have a proper plan in place, the corporate might start taking the chess seriously. Look at what happened to Golf once they got in."

In the end, there was a quick prize giving ceremony. The top ten winners got merchandise prizes while the top three also took home a trophy in addition.

Tania, with deserving support from Red Bull, deserves appreciation for the efforts she has been putting in to popularise the game in whatever ways she can. 

Vishal signs of saying, "A very special thanks to the Ascendas team led by Arun Prasanth and the Chennai District team of Arbiters led by Ravi Kumar, without whom it was impossible to put this together. And, of course, nothing of this would have been ever possible without the energy, execution and logistical support provided by Red Bull themselves."


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