The prevailing pandemic has impacted sporting activities in varying degrees. But chess players, from club-level to the world’s elite, are not complaining, given the number of cash-rich online events available.
GM P. Harikrishna is among the few lucky ones to return to the world’s toughest Tour.
Having twice played in Kolkata in the now-cancelled Grand Chess Tour, Hari will debut in the million-dollar Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour with this weekend’s $150,000 Chessable Masters.
A relaxed Hari opened up to The Hindu. “Playing on the Chess Tour is great. For me, the most important thing is playing the best players and winning.
“This is an opportunity to test my skills.”
Realising that online chess with shorter time-controls poses a different set of challenges, Hari is working on specifics an the results reflected in his runner-up finish in the Sharjah online event this week.
“It’s quite different playing online. So, I have been practising a lot online with my wife and friends. Also, the opening part will be different for the shorter time-control in comparison to the classical time-control.” He said.
On the possibility of the coexistence of over-the-board events and online competitions, Hari said, “I hope they coexist. With all the comforts involved in online events, any organiser can say, ‘Okay, why do I need to work so much on organising an over-the-board event, check various logistical details, etc, when I can just do it online!’ Yet, there is a difference.
“Playing over-the-board events is not just about prizes and costs. It’s more like a social thing, where you meet people, interact, feel the tension between players and, of course, the presence of spectators,” he said.