A franchise-base, first-of-its-kind Global Chess League (GCL), with five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand as its mentor, is to be launched, Tech Mahindra announced on Monday.
Although the company didn’t announce the dates of the ‘phygital’ — physical and digital — league, the statement said that the GCL would look at the prospect of introducing innovative scoring, board selection methods and a fantasy league to maximise viewer engagement.
The statement also did not say whether the GCL would be launched in conjunction FIDE, the world chess governing body, or the All India Chess Federation — or it will be run independently, somewhat like cricket’s Indian Premier League.
“The current plans envision the GCL to engage players from all levels — professional or otherwise. The GCL will have eight franchise owned teams from across the world. The teams will comprise of a mix of titled women and men players, along with juniors and wildcard entrants, playing each other in a round robin format. The teams qualifying for semi-finals will enter the knockout stage of the championship,” said the statement.
“We are actively looking at the prospect of introducing innovative scoring, board selection methods and a fantasy league to maximise viewer engagement. The final GCL structure and team details will be announced in due course.”
“There is a renewed interest in the game of chess and through this unique global league format, we will be able to keep the spirit of chess intact and ensure the right platform is provided to upcoming talent,” said Anand.
Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group, said chess has an incipient and largely untapped potential across the globe.
“Recently, there has been a surge of interest post the online Chess Olympiad and the enormous popularity of a TV series based on the game. We hope that the creation of a league will harness this resurgence of interest and bring about a renaissance in the world of chess. I am particularly excited about sharing my learnings from founding the Pro Kabaddi league with the team in order to replicate that success on a much larger and global platform,” he said.