Inter-school chess: Anand's 'second' Sandipan Chanda could rule in Mumbai

Updated: Dec 29, 2016, 10:39 IST | Manisha Mohite

Overseas exposure and enhanced ratings ensured Sandipan Chanda enjoyed top billing at the IIFL Second Mumbai International chess tournament


Sandipan Chanda has traded his aggressive, uncompromising style to a tempered down approach for success on the international circuit 

Overseas exposure and enhanced ratings ensured Sandipan Chanda enjoyed top billing at the IIFL Second Mumbai International chess tournament, which kicked off at the Mount Litera School at Bandra Kurla Complex on Monday. It is not very often that an Indian starts as the top seed in a competition where 17 chess-playing countries and an equal number of Grandmasters are in the fray.

This child prodigy, who first hit the headlines in the 1990s for his aggressive, uncompromising and original brand of chess, has tempered down, consolidated and configured his instinctive aggression to taste a string of successes in Europe in the last 15 years.

Anand's aid
Not surprisingly, former world champion Viswanathan Anand included him as a 'second' in his team during his title defence against Magnus Carlsen in 2013. This year, Sandipan triumphed at the Dutch Open in August, ahead of fancied opposition. Asked whether one would see sacrificial combinations, setting the board on fire, Sandipan said: "There is a very fine line to differentiate between interesting and instructive. Beginners and followers might enjoy the spectacular fireworks, but will learn more by following instructive games by the Grandmasters." Having assisted Anand, there is a lot that Sandipan admits he has gained in terms of preparation, approach and dedication, but at the same time, has no qualms in admitting that so far he has failed to incorporate them in his game totally to achieve the desired results. "It was interesting and lot of hard work as a second, much more than I imagined but unfortunately at that time, nothing clicked," admitted Sandipan while referring to the Chennai World Championship match.

Sharp Ghosh
Sandipan may face stiff competition for the title from his Kolkata-mate Diptayan Ghosh, who is rated barely 20 points below him. "There is a chess culture in Kolkata and though we do not practice together regularly, Ganguly and I try to look through various advanced theories whenever we meet," added Sandipan.

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