Ding Liren, Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand and Hou Yifan part of Global Chess League stellar showdown
Inaugural Tech Mahindra GCL will make history with star players, including six World Champions across categories, from 14 different countries.
Dubai, May 23, 2023: Global Chess League (GCL), a joint venture between Tech Mahindra and world governing body FIDE, have announced the complete list of players for the upcoming inaugural edition, to be held at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club from June 21 to July 2.
The GCL, in association with the Dubai Sports Council, will feature reigning World Chess Champion Ding Liren, the world’s top-ranked chess player and five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen, five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand, and four-time Women’s World champion Hou Yifan, among others.
Grandmaster Liren, said: “Global Chess League appeared to be a fantastic opportunity from the moment I heard about it. Not only is it an interesting format, but also, as an Icon player, I get to contribute to an exciting concept that will change the face of the chess world for years to come. Further, knowing that GCL will see participation from players worldwide, it will be a strong field, and I look forward to meeting all the players.”
A five-time World Champion, and the reigning four-time World Rapid Chess Champion, Carlsen’s peak FIDE rating has been the highest in chess history. “The Global Chess League will be a great new event in over-the-board chess that has never been done before. I am excited to be a part of this unique mixed-team format,” he said. “Chess is played by many people worldwide, but it needs to catch up to other major sports as a spectator sport, and I am optimistic that GCL will contribute significantly to this. I look forward to enjoying the league’s team spirit.”
All teams will compete in a one-of-a-kind joint team format at GCL, with each team consisting of six players with a minimum of two women chess players per team. Besides Liren and Carlsen, four former world champions will add to the thrilling level of competition – 2021 World Rapid Chess Champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 2008 Blitz Chess World Champion Leinier Domínguez, three-time Blitz Chess World Champion Alexander Grischuk, and 2018 World Rapid Chess Champion Daniil Dubov.
Global Chess League will also feature top female superstars, including Grandmaster (GM) Hou Yifan, a four-time Women’s World Chess Champion and the second highest-rated female player of all time. She was a chess prodigy who was the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of grandmaster at the age of 14.
Yifan will be accompanied by WGMs Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, Kateryna Lagno, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Tan Zhongyi, Nana Dzagnidze, Bella Khotenashvili, Nino Batsiashvili, Irina Krush, International Master Polina Shuvalova, and 2018 European Women’s Champion in rapid chess, Elisabeth Paehtz.
Yifan, a four-time women’s world chess champion, said, “Global Chess League has already sparked widespread interest. I am grateful to Tech Mahindra and FIDE for inviting me to participate in the league’s inaugural season, and I cannot wait for the season to begin. GCL, with its unique joint format of men and women players on the same team, is certain to take the game in new directions and open doors, which have never been explored before. Chess fans all over the world are in for a treat.”
In addition to the renowned champions, the league will provide a stage for emerging talent from diverse nations, offering them an opportunity to compete against the very best in the world. Six U21 players will also compete in the GCL, with the trio of Grandmasters, Praggnanandhaa R., Raunak Sadhwani, and Nihal Sarin, leading the pack of prodigies for India. GMs Jonas Buhl Bjerre, Javokhir Sindarov and chess prodigy GM Andrey Esipenko complete the list of players in the category.
The FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich,said,“The Tech Mahindra Global Chess League will feature chess icons, legends, and world champions from around the world, and we are excited to see the biggest names in chess compete for the top prize. This league promises a never-before-seen level of thrilling chess action, and the anticipation is palpable. We are confident the league will usher in a new era in the modern chess ecosystem.”
In addition to the players mentioned above, the Global Chess League will feature several other superstars of chess, including Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi, Gukesh D, Arjun Erigaisi, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Yi Wei, Yu Yangyi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Richard Rapport, Kirill Shevchenko, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Salem Salah.
Jagdish Mitra, Chairperson of the Global Chess League Board, said, “We are honoured to have some of the biggest names in chess for the inaugural edition. Apart from being great players, all of them have been ambassadors for the game in their respective countries and worldwide. With them on board, GCL only adds another feather to its cap in becoming a true game changer for the chess ecosystem by introducing a mixed-team format in chess in which men, women, and u-21 players will play on the same team. This is a true testament to our belief in providing equal opportunities to all, regardless of gender. We are certain that the league will drive and inspire a new generation of players to be interested in the growing chess community.”
The league will also set the standards for technological innovations in the sport of chess as Tech Mahindra and FIDE will explore innovative ways to promote the game through interactive technology-enabled platforms by leveraging next-generation technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, among others.
About Tech Mahindra Global Chess League:
The Global Chess League is the world’s first and largest official franchise league of its kind, with chess players from all over the world competing in a unique joint team format. It is a joint venture between Tech Mahindra, a part of the Mahindra Group, and FIDE. GCL will feature male and female chess champions competing in the same team. 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. In addition, the League will be the first ever Live televised chess event of its kind that will help offer fans a unique viewing experience. Tech Mahindra and FIDE will explore innovative ways to promote the game through interactive technology-enabled platforms by leveraging next-generation technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, among others.
The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is the governing body of the sport of chess, and it regulates all international chess competitions. Constituted as a non-governmental institution, it was recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a Global Sporting Organization in 1999. FIDE was one of the very first International Sports Federations, alongside the governing bodies of the sports of Football, Cricket, Swimming, and Auto Racing. It is now one of the largest, encompassing 199 countries as affiliate members, in the form of National Chess Federations. Chess is nowadays a truly global sport, with dozens of millions of players in all the continents, and more than 60 million games on average played every day.