India’s incredible rise as a chess nation took a giant leap forward today as it was granted the first regional expansion of the world-renowned Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.
The Play Magnus Group has formed an association with Mobile Premier League (MPL) on Monday for internet hosting of the Indian Chess Tour within the nation.
The prize pool worth USD 100,000 will be carried by the tour and will act as a portal for the Indian players to participate in the global Meltwater Champions Chess Tour along with an opportunity to play with none other than Magnus Carlsen.
Together with MPL, Play Magnus Group aims to bring the tour’s innovative online format to India and encourage new growth in the game across the region. Already, an impressive seven Indian players have participated in the 2021 season of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. It included Indian Women’s Champion and #1 Rated Female Rapid player Humpy Koneru, Grandmaster stars Vidit Gujrathi, Pentala Harikrishna and Baskaran Adhiban and under-18 young prodigies like Praggnanandha, Gukesh D and Arjun Erigaisi.
“India is a fast-growing market for chess and the MPL Indian Chess Tour is a fantastic opportunity for young Indian players to shine on both this new national circuit and the global Meltwater Champions Chess Tour,” Andreas Thome, CEO of Play Magnus Group, said as reported by Economic Times.
Sai Srinivas, Co-Founder and CEO of MPL, told ET that MPL's objective is to grow the esports industry by making it more accessible and inclusive.
"This partnership with Play Magnus Group furthers our commitment by bringing one of the world's biggest chess initiatives to India and taking it to the masses. We have a lot of talented players in the country and the MPL Indian Chess Tour will help provide them with a stage to showcase their skills and also give them an opportunity to compete at an international level," he added.
India is undergoing a chess boom, with 49 of the country’s 69 Grandmasters earning their titles since 2010. The future looks strong for Indian chess given the country’s rising number of young stars. 25% of the player field at the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour are Indians. It is an online tournament launched by PMG along with Chess legends namely Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik, that scouts emerging talent and promotes gender equality in Chess. They have won two of three tournaments so far and earned invites to the global Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.
The MPL Indian Chess tour will conduct four online tournaments leading to the final round where the winner would be crowned as the champion of the first ever MPL Indian Chess Tour Champion 2022. The matches will be streamed on chess24, chess24india and MPL's YouTube and Facebook channels. This competition will give the chess enthusiasts an opportunity to play against India’s GM in the respective four arranged tournaments of this Chess tour.