Russian Grandmaster Igor Smirnov playing chess simultaneously with many players at a Simultaneous Chess Display organised by the Vellore District Chess Association in Vellore on Saturday.— Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy.
In his first-ever lecture session for a larger audience and the first-ever seminar on chess organised in Vellore district, Russian Grandmaster Igor Smirnov conducted a training session for about 80 chess players from the five southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Karnataka at the Rangalaya Kalyana Mandapam here on Saturday.
Incidentally, this is also the first time that a chess Grandmaster is visiting Vellore.
A seminar was organised by the Vellore District Chess Association on behalf of the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association.
Twenty-eight-year-old Mr. Smirnov explained to the players through a power point presentation about the strategy to be adopted during the opening game, middle game and end game to win a match. ‘Develop the pieces, castle and connect the rooks’ is the strategy for the opening game.
‘Attack and go forward in the middle game’, and ‘capture your opponent’s pawns and promote your pawns in the end game’. The ‘queen being the powerful piece, it controls every stage of the game, but moving the queen in the middle game would be a better strategy.
“If you lose the queen, the chances of mating are reduced. The mating opportunities dwindle further if you lose both the queen and the rook”, Mr. Smirnov said.
The Grandmaster said that a player should plan for the next move when the opponent is taking a long time pondering over his/her next move. He recalled that Viswanathan Anand won the world championship match against Veselin Topalov in 2010 by his strategy of planning his next move when the latter was pondering. Realising this, Topalov played fast without giving time for Anand to think, and in the process committed mistakes, which facilitated a win by Anand, he said. This again was a strategy of Anand, he said, bringing peals of laughter from the audience.
Mr. Smirnov fielded many questions from the audience and clarified their doubts. The Grandmaster who played a simultaneous game with many players said in a lighter vein that even if any of them won against him, the credit would go to him since they won after listening to his lecture.
Later speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Smirnov said it was in Vellore that he was giving a lecture to a larger audience. Elsewhere, he used to provide training to smaller groups. A lot of players were playing well in India, where there has been a wave of interest in the game. Several youths had taken to chess in India in recent times as it requires no costly equipment. But a lot more has to be done since the number of Grandmasters in India was less, he said.
P. Manoharan, Joint Secretary of the VDCA, said there were 546 district level players from 13 academies in Vellore district. Among them are 100 rating players.
S. Manikandaswamy, secretary of VDCA and Vice-President of TNSCA with a rating of 2,141, is the highest rated chess player in Vellore district, he said.
Igor Smirnov conducted training session for chess players from southern states