AICF plans Indian Chess League as part of Vision 2020

Chennai: Promoting an Indian Chess League (ICL), holding a round-robin event with top Grandmasters (GM) funded by sponsors, creating a separate division for promoting chess in schools, two women round-robin events for securing international title norms and engaging foreign coaches for 15 top junior players are some of the Vision 2020 plans of All India Chess Federation (AICF), said a senior official.

He also said coaching camps and FIDE rated tournaments for girls in 15 states under ‘Smart Girl Project’ for a week under experienced Indian coaches will also be held to promote women’s chess.

“We are exploring the possibility of having the ICL with couple of corporates showing interest. However, the format and modalities have to be discussed as some corporates want minimum guarantee. For instance, some corporates want the ICL duration to be five/ten years,” Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary of AICF told IANS over phone from Goa.

Chauhan said the ICL plan is at a very preliminary stage and it is not possible to say now whether foreign players will also be allowed to participate or if it will only be for Indian players.

He said the Vision 2020 strategy was given the go-ahead by members at the AICF’s annual general meeting held at Goa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in order to enable young Indian chess players to progress further, the AICF has decided to conduct four coaching camps under foreign coaches for 15 top junior players who already established their mark in the international arena.

According to Chauhan, junior players require coaching camps to increase their rating as well as attain titles like Grandmaster.

The AICF has budgeted Rs 25 lakh for this project to meet the coach fee and other expenses of the players.

Chauhan also said that all state associations must conduct an International Master/GM coaching camp in their state in a year for 20 players.

As part of the Vision 2020 plan, seminars, training programmes and workshops will be held for FIDE trainers, arbiters and for school teachers.

Expressing happiness at the Central government increasing its grant to Rs 5.2 crore this year from earlier Rs 4 crore, Chauhan said the AICF will seek further financial support for:

– Holding eight national men/women coaching camps (four each in 2019 and 2020 for 12 players) with government support of Rs 10 lakh each.

– National Junior and Sub-Junior coaching camps for boys and girls (three in 2019 and four in 2020 for 24 players) with government support of Rs 15 lakh each.

– Two exposure trips for Indian Teams to play in tournaments like Aeroflot Open, Moscow, the Abu Dhabi Open at UAE and others.

– Government grant for an international events in India. The AICF is planning to conduct 12 GM events in India in which at least three will be above rating restricted ones and

– Support from the government for participation of teams in the Asian Youth, Asian Junior, Asian School, World School, World Youth, World Cadet, World Junior, World Youth Olympiad, Asian Individual, World Chess Olympiad and others.

By Venkatachari Jagannathan