Chess may go IPL way
Aug 26, 2013
Chess could be the next in line for a cash-rich tournament, according to All India Chess Federation CEO Bharat Singh Chauhan. “An event on lines of the IPL is in the pipeline. You may witness a national level tournament next year,” he added.
A franchise-based event conducted in Maharashtra is said to be a precursor to a national level league. The big question mark is whether the AICF has the wherewithal to set up a similar tournament at the national level. “The IPL like league in Maharashtra was a big success and we followed the way it functioned keenly,” Chauhan said. “We would take care to give representation to women, youth and foreigners. Once the AICF decides to go ahead, everything would be done properly.” A league with attractive cash prizes could go a long way in improving the staid image of chess. The game is already played in every corner of the country and a glitzy league will act as a catalyst to garner the attention of children. More importantly, the mind game has snappier tailor-made versions such as rapid and blitz that would create interest on many fronts.
“There is no possibility of organising conventional matches because they can be too long to suit a tournament modelled on the IPL. The packaging has to be attractive. Luckily, we have got a variety to choose from,” said Chauhan, who is actively involved in the organisation of the world championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen in Chennai later this year.
The main problem for AICF in conducting a professional league could be the lack of space in an already overcrowded calendar. “Yes, that would be the main concern because we have so many private and federation tournaments across the country throughout the year. The AICF alone conducts 25 events a year spanning all age groups. So finding an appropriate slot will be a big headache,” the federation CEO said.
Chauhan said that an injection of cash would boost the growth of chess in India further. “We are already a major nation in chess. Even though I feel a player can make a living out chess from the cash prizes available in tournaments in India, more money from a professional tournament will certainly be useful. The union government has been doing a lot for our age group champions but we need a lot more,” he added.
The AICF may look to cash in on the buzz created by the Anand-Carlsen match to give shape to its own cash-rich league.