The All-India Chess Federation (AICF) has announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind chess franchise league labelled the Indian Chess League. The AICF had been planning for the same in the last few years and have finally scheduled the first season of the league in June 2022. The most eye-catching thing is the two crore rupees prize money for the winning team.
The AICF has revealed that there would a total of six teams/franchisees who would be taking part in the first season of the highly anticipated Indian Chess League. While each team will be consisting of eight players that would include, 2 Super GMs, 2 Indian GMs, 2 Women GM, and 1 Junior Indian Boy and Girl each.
Adding to that, the format of the chess league would be Rapid and Blitz with a double round-robin setup. The top two teams will lock horns against each other in the final game. The entire league will be played for two weeks, while the venue for the matches might be across two cities, it is yet to be decided.
Speaking on the occasion, AICF president Sanjay Kapoor, said: “We are optimistic about the chances of this league. We will not stop walking due to the fear of falling. We will be mindful of the mistakes (made by other leagues) but at the same time we want to move forward as this was the dream of many from the chess community.”
Adding to it, Jeet Banerjee, director of Gameplan Sports Private Limited, said: “The league’s rights holder is Gameplan Sports Private Limited. “We need to be realistic. I do not want to comment on other leagues as I was not involved but we will do everything so that it works for all the parties. There is no point if the team owners lose money.”
While Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi and Harika Dronavalli had also joined the Indian Chess League announcement event, via video conferencing.
Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi said: “It is very important to hold tournaments in India. When the young see big chess players live, it makes a big impression. I remember 2002 when I saw Viswanathan Anand play in Hyderabad in the World Cup, it made a big impression on me and it inspired me to take up the sport. This league is going to change a lot of lives.
Adding to it, Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli said: “This league has been a dream for all of us for a long time. I am happy and thankful that this is finally happening. This is the next big step for chess in our country.”
The first-of-its-kind chess franchise league will be organized by Gameplan Sports Private Limited who has been roped in to hold, organize and promote the competition. The criteria for becoming a franchise owner is going to be announced shortly, which will be followed by the franchise auction.