Aman Puri, Viswanathan Anand, CP Gurnani, Parag Shah, Jagdish Mitra, Saeed Yousuf Shakari and other dignitaries pose for a picture.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The largest and first franchise-based chess league in history will be held in Dubai. The inaugural edition of Global Chess League (GCL) will take place from June 21 to July 2.
Global Chess League (GCL), a joint venture between FIDE and Tech Mahindra, and will be held in Dubai in association with Dubai Sports Council, the league’s host partner.
The announcement was made at a press conference in the presence of Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Dubai, Viswanathan Anand, five-time world Chess champion, and Deputy President, FIDE, CP Gurnani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra, Parag Shah, EVP & Head, Mahindra Accelo and Member, Global Chess League Board, and Jagdish Mitra, Chairperson, Global Chess League Board, in the Gulf city.
Talking about hosting the inaugural edition of Global Chess League, Saeed Hareb, Secretary General, Dubai Sports Council, said, “Hosting the Global Chess League is a momentous occasion for us. FIDE and Tech Mahindra’s vision for the league will truly bring the sport of Chess to a new audience and help existing fans relate to the sport more than ever before.
“Global Chess League is a first-of-its-kind tournament with a team vs team format that will bring together the best chess players from across the world, representing major countries and providing a unique experience to Chess fans globally. We look forward to welcoming champions from across the world to Dubai, the growing sports capital.”
The Global Chess League will draw the world’s attention to a new chess format and create an ecosystem for the sport, providing a platform for champions worldwide to showcase the potential of Chess.
Anand, deputy president, FIDE, said, “Dubai has been attracting various sporting events. The World Chess Championship in Dubai in 2021 during the Dubai Expo was a big success. “Similarly, I believe the Global Chess League will mark a new beginning in fan experience. Its unique team format will contribute to the growth and development of Chess.
“The league aims to revolutionize the game by having established and emerging talent play together on the same team. All players, including men, women, and juniors, would contribute equally to their team’s success. I look forward to a fantastic inaugural season.”
The first edition of the League will feature six teams with six players each, including a minimum of two female players and one icon player per team. The six teams will compete in a round-robin format where each team will play 10 matches.
The FIDE President said: “We are excited to announce our partnership with Dubai Sports Council to host the inaugural edition of Global Chess League in Dubai. This city has established itself as a world-class events destination, and among many other major sporting events, it has hosted the FIDE World Championship Match 2021, which was a great success.
“Thanks to this experience, we couldn’t think of a better partner to deliver a memorable first edition of the Global Chess League.”
Each match will feature six boards that will be played simultaneously. The top two teams will qualify for the final on July 2, 2023, and be crowned the World Champion Franchise Team.
Jagdish Mitra, Chairperson, Global Chess League Board, said, “Dubai has emerged as a major global sports and business destination in the last decade. Its significant role in bolstering the UAE’s digital economy and strengthening its position as a global knowledge hub is noteworthy. This makes Dubai an ideal location for hosting the inaugural edition of a tournament like the Global Chess League. We believe that our partnership with Dubai Sports Council, the official sports governing body of the Government of Dubai, is a major step forward in further strengthening our ties with the country. We look forward to hosting a successful league in Dubai and ushering in a new era for the sport.”
Playing on the popular Rapid format, the league’s joint male-female teams will have the rare distinction of being a unique multiplayer team in the world of professional sports.