Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran will spearhead the Indian challenge when the team takes on Israel in a ‘Test’ match beginning at the Airport Authority of India Officers’ Institute here on Tuesday. And it’s not just the event — spread over three days — that is unique but also the format. More importantly, the event is being considered a well thought out curtain raiser to the biggest clash in chess for the year 2012 — the battle for the ultimate title of world champion between India’s Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand of Israel — from May 10 at Moscow.
Besides Sasikiran, the second highest-rated player in the country after Anand, Grandmaster and reigning national champion Abhijeet Gupta, Grandmaster B Adhiban and Grandmaster GN Gopal will complete the Indian line-up. From Israel, highly regarded Grandmaster Illya Smirin will be on top board, assisted by Grandmaster Tal Baron, Grandmaster Vitaly Golod and Gil Popliski.
The Indians, though, start favourites to win the clash that will be spread over three rounds, with each player playing against all players of the other country at least once. There will be 12 games in all. Also, there will be Blindfold, Rapid and Blitz games together in a match for the first time in any competition. Both blindfold and rapid games will have a time control of 25 minutes for the entire game, with a ten second increment after every move is played. The blitz games will have three minutes with an increment of two seconds per move. Players will be able to see only their opponent’s last move in blindfold.
An initiative of the All India Chess Federation under the aegis of the World Chess Federation and supported by the Israel Embassy in New Delhi, the games will be beamed live through the internet.