World Chess Title Challenger(s) will be given upto INR 1 cr financial support: AICF Interim Secy
CHENNAI — The All India Chess Federation (AICF) will support Indian players winning the Candidates Tournament 2024 with financial assistance up to a sum of INR 1 crore to prepare for the world title, said a senior official.
“Indian players winning the Candidates 2024 tournament will be supported to the extent of Rs.50 lakh to INR1 crore for their preparation for the world title. This is subject to the approval of the General Body,” Interim Secretary Ajeet Kumar Verma told IANS.
This is in addition to the INR 2 crore financial assistance announced earlier for the five Indian players who will be fighting it out in the Candidates 2024 tournament to be held in Toronto in Canada.
Curiously, AICF had announced the INR 2 crore assistance for three players who had then qualified for the Candidates Tournament. Post that announcement two more players got qualified and the assistance will now be divided amongst the five players.
The winner of the Candidates tournament will be the challenger for the World Chess Title – Open and Women sections.
There are three Indian men in the open section and two women in the women’s section in contention.
The three Indians in the open category are: Grandmaster (GM) R.Praggnanandhaa (2,743 -13th), GM D.Gukesh (2,725-25th) and GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (2,742 – 14th).
In the women’s section the two Indian hopefuls are: the experienced and World number two GM Koneru Humpy (2,554) and the young Woman GM (WGM) R.Vaishali, ranked 14th with a rating of 2,481 points.
Both the open and women’s world titles are now held by Chinese players viz GM Ding Liren (Elo rating 2,780-World Rank 4th) and (GM) Ju Wenjun (2,549, World Rank 5th).
“India is represented by three players (in the open section). All of them are worthy contenders, however none of them is among the favorites. Combined probability of one of the three to win it is clearly less than 50%, but I’d rate it above 25%,” GM Emil Sutovsky, CEO, FIDE or International Chess Federation, told IANS.
“So, yes, it could happen that the Title Match at the end of 2024 will be contested between Chinese and Indian players – and it would be exciting. But, say, the match between Chinese and American will be no less exciting,” Sutovsky added.
Interestingly in an online survey GM Jacob Aagaard, a trainer, had asked “What is your biggest psychological issue as a chess player?” And also added “(Fear of Indian kids not included, because we all have it)” while listing out a couple of options.
With the former World Champion and the World’s highest ranked player Carlsen (2,830) likely to withdraw from the race, the contention is open as the young Indian players who have been punching above their weight can outsmart any strong player.
It may be recalled Gukesh had notched up a score of 7/7 at the Chess Olympiad held in Chennai.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)