India is in the grip of election season. After the first phase of voting on April 11, the second phase of polling began on April 18. The Election Commission of India, along with notable personalities from all walks of society, have all urged people to exercise their right and vote in the elections. However, the town of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh resorted to a unique way of spreading awareness for voting in the elections. Recently, two Indian players, Hansraj Thakur and Hitesh Azad played 303 chess blitz games for 53 hours non-stop. There was a poster which highlighted the event which read, “For a strong democracy, here is a chess marathon.”
A total of 303 games were played spanning 53 hours, 17 minutes and 49 seconds. The contest apparently began on the morning of April 4 and it ended on April 6. This effort is now in the reckoning for a new Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon. Thakur and Azad’s feat bettered the previous instance of 50 hours, 1 minute and 7 seconds set by the Polish duo of Jacek Gajewski and Wojciech Waruga from 15 to 17 December 2018.
According to a report on Chessbase.in, the statistics of the game made for interesting reading. Azad won 192 games while Thakur won 91 games with draws. The shortest game was just eight moves while the longest was 77 moves.
Himachal Pradesh will have only one phase of polling and it will be on the seventh and last stage which will be on May 12. There are only four Lok Sabha constituencies in Himachal Pradesh and all of them will elect their representatives on the same day.
Currently, current world chess champion Magnus Carlsen is the reigning world blitz champion after he won a 10th World Championship title with a score of 17 out of 21 in the World Blitz Championship in St. Petersburg which ended on December 2018. In addition to the World Blitz Championship, Carlsen is the reigning world champion in the classical format while he is also the World Rapid Champion having won the title twice in 2014 and 2015.