New Delhi: Czech chess champion Viktor Laznicka is impressed with the way chess players are treated in India and is hoping to cash in on the experience he gained from his previous visits to India when he opens his campaign at the inaugural Airports Authority of India (AAI) Grandmasters Chess tournament beginning Tuesday, 21st June.
Laznicka, who has visited India twice, won the Kolkata Open in his first visit and was tied second going into the final round on his next visit. But he lost the last game and finished sixth.
"I have been to India two times before. I played in Kolkata in 2008 and 2009. I enjoyed it very much and in 2008 as I was the winner. I have also been to New Delhi as a tourist and (from there) I went to see Taj Mahal and many other interesting things," said Laznicka ahead of his visit for the AAI Grandmasters event.
Apart from Laznicka, the other participants will be Women`s world champion Hou Yifan of China, World Junior No.1 GM Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Philippines` No.1 GM Wesely So, India No.2 GM Krishnan Sasikiran and the reigning Indian National Champion GM Parimarjan Negi.
Asked about what he knew about India and its chess, Laznicka said: "I like many things about India. It will be hard to express it in one sentence. But generally, I like the way chess players are treated in India."
On the other players in the tournament, he said: "It (the field) will be quite tough with many young strong grandmasters with huge potential. (It is a) very interesting composition."
When asked to point out who could be the favourite, he said: "I guess favorites will be (Fabiano) Caruana and Sasikiran, but almost every player can top the field. I did not play very often after Olympiad in September 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk. At the European Championships in France, I performed badly. But before Olympiad I had great results like winning of World Open in USA and winning of Marx Gyorgy memorial in Hungary," he said of his own form.
The 23-year-old Laznicka learnt chess at six and progressed quickly to playing and winning junior tournaments across many age groups. One of his big achievements was the bronze medal at the European Youth Chess Championship in 2005. A year later he became a Grandmaster.
Laznicka is a technically solid and a dynamic player, who is adept with both colors. During his 6-0 run to start the 2010 World Open, which he eventually won, he scored two points with black against strong grandmasters.
The tournament will offer total prize money worth $24,500. The winner takes $8,000 while the runner-up will get $6,000.