Tata Steel Chess 2022: Right Moves Towards Gender Equality in Chess
As curtains drew on the much-awaited Tata Steel Chess India 2022 on December 4, a few fundamental things took a new turn. The fourth edition of TCSI that lasted from November 29-December 4th, stood out with its spotlight on women’s chess.
The edition that was held in Kolkata set the tone right by the inclusion of women’s category for the first time, with an emphasis on equal pay for the male and female players.
TCSI 2022: Addressing the long-standing debate of gender equality
Chess is a sport that has had a significant focus on men since its growth and evolution in the early centuries. With the changing perceptions on gender equality and women empowerment in the recent decades, Chess has also taken a pleasant detour. Since the highly popular Netflix drama “The Queen’s Gambit”, succeeded in shifting the attention to women’s chess, things have taken a better path for the female players worldwide.
TCSI’s step to introduce a parallel category for women in the tournament reinstates this new renaissance in chess. The Kolkata tournament included separate rapid and blitz divisions for women with a total prize fund of $41,500. This is a significant development because it shows a commitment to making chess more inclusive for women.
Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine, the current World No. 8 in chess, remarked that she could not recall a tournament in which the prize fund was equal for men and women. The former World rapid champion from Azerbaijan, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, joked, saying, “So can I play in the women’s section?”
Tata Steel Chess India 2022 – a glimpse
The Indian edition had some of the top international GMs -including top Indian women and men Grandmasters, some of the most brilliant young Indian talents to set the spark. India’s very own former world champion Viswanathan Anand as the ambassador and advisor of the tournament further added to the ebullient mood.
The tournament featured some of the finest chess players in the world, including Uzbekistan’s reigning World Rapid Champion, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and the United States’ own fifth- and eighth-ranked Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So. Additionally, there is the fantastic young Indian quartet consisting of Arjun Erigaisi (who won the rapid division last year), D. Gukesh, R. Praggnanandhaa, and Nihal Sarin.
Some of the world’s top chess players had shared their enthusiasm in participating in the event in Kolkata including the World Champion Magnus Carlsen Tweeting that he was eagerly looking forward to exploring Kolkata during his time there.
Another top player, Hikaru Nakamura, said he was thrilled to be playing in such a “historic” event.
Experience v/s Youth
This year’s edition was also interesting because of the coincidental theme of “experience vs youth” across the two groups.
GM Arjun Erigaisi triumphantly won over GM Hikaru Nakamura in the open section to clinch the title in the 2022 Tata Steel Chess India Open Blitz, while in the 2022 Tata Steel Chess India Women’s Blitz, IM Vaishali Rameshbabu outpaced GM Mariya Muzychuk in the final rounds.
Erigaisi gathered a total of 12.5 points in 18 rounds, and Nakamura 11.5 points, while GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov scored 9.5 points to finish third. In the Women’s section, Vaishali won with a score of 13.5 points in 18 games, while Muzychuk scored 12 and GM Harika Dronavalli 11.
In the women’s tournament, former World Rapid Champion Koneru Humpy led Team India. Some other strong contenders include Anna Muzychuk, Anna Ushenina from Ukraine, Georgian player Nana Dzagnidze, and Polish player Oliwia Kiolbasa to name a few.
Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand was the official tournament ambassador on the men’s side. TCSI also had big guns like the highly favoured Hikaru Nakamura and the U.S champion Wesley So to grace the event.
Anand pointed out the threat to diversity in the youth category and the trend of having the same sub-thread among the Indian competitors by noting the existence of another rising young star in GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan. Vidit shared this sentiment, noting that he would have been the oldest Indian competitor in the rapid section if GM S P Sethuraman hadn’t been added at the last minute.
At Mind Mentorz we nurture young minds with the right exposure and a meticulous curriculum that blends chess skills with cognitive development. We are excited about the new innings in chess with the spotlight on India’s youth players and more opportunities for female chess players. Students at Mind Mentorz have always enjoyed the opportunities to participate and shine in State and national level junior chess championships. To know more about our offline and online chess coaching in Bangalore, get in touch with us at +91-960 68 47428.