Chess is much more than a game for Tata Steel: Chanakya Chaudhary,VP,Corporate Services, Tata Steel
Chess is much more than a game for Tata Steel
--- By Chanakya Chaudhary
Among the many of sports Tata Steel supports, Chess holds a very special place, least of which is its historical association with India. Known in its ancient version as Chaturanga, dating back to more than 1500 years, India’s association with chess outdates every modern sport that has a huge following in the country. It is but natural that today India is home to some of the smartest chess players the world has seen and will continue to enrich this great tradition. This is perhaps the strongest reason why Tata Steel is going to great lengths to rejuvenate the culture of playing chess to new heights.
Tata Steel has a long-standing association with chess, having been the main sponsor of the famous chess tournament at Wijk aan Zee village in The Netherlands, which is one of the most prestigious events in the international chess calendar. The upcoming 4th edition of Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz, India's first chess super tournament, which will be held in Kolkata later this year from Nov 29 - Dec 4, 2022, is in some ways a continuation of the Company's legacy of promoting the great strategy sport outside India as well. As one of India’s most successful institution builders, Tata Steel intends to make Tata Steel Chess India, a world-class and most sought-after event in professional chess in the years to come.
To promote grassroots talent and enable a supportive ecosystem for the game, Tata Steel Chess Training Centre was established in 1989. Till date, more than 2500 students have completed chess training at the Centre and many trainees have done the Nation proud by winning laurels at various national and international platforms. Tata Steel has also been supporting inter-school, district, and State-level competitions in Jharkhand.
It is heartening to share that even our Company employees – Dibyendu Barua, Neeraj Mishra, Varugeese Koshy to name a few, have pursued Chess and made a mark for themselves and the country. While Dibyendu Barua received Arjuna Award in 1986 and Neeraj Mishra secured International Master Title in 1991, Varugeese Koshy represented India at various international events.
The Company’s interest in chess and many other sports it supports is much more than an integral part of its larger corporate social responsibility mandate. One may even say that it is inseparable part of its DNA.
Encouragement and support for sports at Tata Steel dates back nearly a century. It was a tradition started by the Company’s first chairman Sir Dorabji Tata, who personally financed India’s first Olympic team to Antwerp, Belgium in 1920. Tata Steel later established the Jamshedpur Athletic Club in 1927 and started sports competitions for working women and children. Today, Tata Steel is one of the foremost corporate promoters of Indian sports – having built academies for football, archery, athletics, hockey, and sport climbing.
The testimony to our efforts in adding value to the overall sports ecosystem of the country is that Tata Steel has produced 1 Padma Bhushan, 11 Padma Shri, 1 Khel Ratna, 6 Dronacharya and 42 Arjuna Awardees in the field of sports.
Chess is a global game that can contribute to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding among peoples and nations by promoting fairness, inclusion, and mutual respect. This year’s International Chess Day (July 20) will be celebrated with greater enthusiasm. Last month, India created history by hosting the first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay, launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Chennai last month. We expect the celebration to stretch to the end of the year with Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz.
The International Chess Federation (FIDE), the governing body of the sport of chess that also regulates all international chess competitions, has declared 2022 the 'Year of the Woman in Chess'. In keeping with this manifesto, we will also witness top women chess players from around the world compete in the upcoming Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz 2022, India’s biggest chess tournament. This super championship has grown over the last three editions to become a destination tournament on the global chess calendar. With many other firsts to its credit -- such as World Champion Magnus Carlsen participating in - and winning - the 2019 edition, being part of the Grand Chess Tour and hosting 10 Grandmasters, the tournament enjoys huge popularity amongst chess professionals, chess journalists and chess lovers and promises to grow from strength to strength in the coming years and decades, dwarfed only by the long list of grandmasters the country is expected to produce.
With the mental stamina, agility and strategic thinking combined with the physical fitness it demands, we believe chess will stand to represent the new India, we are committed to build.