Friday, June 14, 2024

‘This is the professional way of doing a Chess league,’ Teimour Radjabov on joining Global Chess League

The inaugural edition of the Global Chess League is all set to be held from June 21 – July 2, 2023 at the Dubai Chess & Culture Club in association with the Dubai Sports Council.

The tournament will see some of the best chess proponents in the world competing against each other in a league-styled format – and Chess Grandmaster, Teimour Radjabov, who has been named as one of the participants, is excited to become a part of the tournament.

“The idea itself is great. In my opinion, this is the professional way of doing a Chess league. Hopefully everything will work out perfectly,” Teimour said when asked about his reasons for becoming a part of the Global Chess League.

Another factor that excited Teimour about the GCL was the fact that the tournament is being organised by Tech Mahindra in collaboration with FIDE. To Teimour, who garnered quite a fan following in India during the COVID-19 years, this is a chance to connect further with his Indian fans.

“My Indian fan base has grown through the COVID years. So, I was more or less convinced from the start and needed to know a few details. The GCL seemed like a great event for chess organised by nice people that I have known before. I was just happy to accept it. And especially, with a chance to connect a lot more with my Indian fan base and friends, in my eyes, everything came together,” he said.

The league will see each of the six franchises play a total of 10 matches in a double round-robin format, with the winner of each match being decided in a best-of-six board scoring system played simultaneously. The top two teams will qualify for the final on July 2, 2023, and be crowned the World Champion Franchise Team.

Teimour, who earned the title of the Grandmaster at the age of 14 in 2001, becoming the second-youngest player to attain the title at the time, further said that there is a lot of excitement amid the chess fraternity regarding the upcoming Global Chess League.

“A lot of chess players are eagerly waiting for the league. During some of my livestreams, chess players and fans were asking me about the details and I told them the details will come very soon. We have now announced the teams and players and most of the top players are involved in this league, which is very interesting and exciting stuff,” Teimour said.

Teimour who will be playing for the Balan Alaskan Knights in GCL, started his chess career when he was just 3.5 years old after being introduced to the sport by his father who was pursuing the sport along with his education, as was a common practice during the Soviet era. His father studied in the same chess school as legendary Garry Kasparov in Baku, and coincidentally, one of Teimour’s biggest career moments came when he faced against the Chess Grandmaster at the age of 15 and picked up a win in 2003 Linares Tournament.

Teimour recalled: “Kasparov was the best player at the time, and I used to study his games. When I won the game, it was out of the world feeling, as I was only 15 years old at the time, and I beat him with black. At the time, he had not lost a single game as a white in six years. It was an unbelievable feeling, and it still remains to this day.”

“I have never reached World No. 1; the maximum I have ever reached as World No. 4 in Official FIDE Rankings. I have won the title of the World Cup, but yet to achieve the title of the World Champion in Chess.”

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