By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Sep 26 (IANS) Signing a sponsorship agreement with a multi-national company (MNC) for national chess tournaments, finalising the bidders for the Indian Chess League, popularising the sport at the grassroots and setting up a national chess academy are some of the things that are there on the All India Chess Federation’s (AICF) plate, said a senior official.
The AICF has also created a Players’ Welfare Fund with a corpus of Rs.50 lakh to help chess players in times of emergency, he added.
“We have signed a five-year sponsorship agreement with an MNC. The company will sponsor 18 national tournaments including the age groups for five years,” Bharat Singh Chauhan, AICF secretary told IANS.
“The MNC will give AICF Rs.1 crore in the first year and increase the contribution by 20 per cent during the remaining four years,” Chauhan added.
He said the company’s name will be revealed once the first year’s amount is received by AICF.
On the much-awaited Indian Chess League for which AICF had asked for Expression of Interest (EoI) early this month, Chauhan said: “We have received bids from nine companies. They will spell out how they would plan to conduct the league, like the number of teams, players (domestic, foreign, men, women, boys, girls) and the format.”
Chauhan said a meeting has been fixed on October 10 to consider their proposals and a decision will be taken in a couple of days after that meeting.
“Our idea is that foreign players should not constitute more than one-third of the team’s strength. And chess super Grandmasters, who have a rating of over 2,700 Elo points, should not be bought for less than Rs.30 lakh,” Chauhan added.
However, everything will be frozen only after the October 10 meeting on the subject. The AICF has set up a committee for the purpose.
The AICF has invited the EoIs from sports marketing, management and events management companies for the proposed chess league.
According to AICF, the chess league is expected to take off in June 2022.
The Indian chess body had said the global online chess phenomenon is growing as well as active Indian players and it is the perfect time to start a pan-India franchise-format chess league.
According to Chauhan, the AICF will take chess to every district by training arbiters, players and tournament organisers.
“We cannot charge the participants the full amount. While the bulk of the expenses would be borne by AICF, the trainees may have to pay a small part,” Chauhan remarked.
The chess body will also take the game to the schools under the Chess in School programme.
According to Chauhan, the AICF has decided to have the National Chess Academy in Odisha to train players from different parts of the country.