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While other sporting codes have been put on hold completely by the covid-19 pandemic, this is however not the case with chess as its players have alternatively fallen back on online games.
Online events are dominating the world of chess in these past few weeks. Big tournaments are being spearheaded by the top players in the globe including the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who organised an invitational event for eight competitors including himself for a whopping $250,000 prize fund. Currently, the FIDE Online Nations Cup is also underway. Thus, there comes a time for the development of a strong event for Indian titled players. The Sukooon ResortsIndian Chess League (ICL) has been formed by three players GM Priyadharshan Kannapan, IM Rakesh Kulkarni, and FM Niranjan Navalgund. It will be held from 15th-17th May 2020 on the online portal chess.com with only Indians allowed to participate. 50 titled players have registered to compete, which includes 25 out of the 65 Grandmasters in India.
As it has been stated by Navalgund, "The tournament's main vision is to bring out the best players of our country to play against each other in a team format." The prize fund is over Rs.40,000 with an award also presented to the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the league. The tournament is being sponsored by Sukooon Resorts, who are the title sponsors, and Maestro Chess Academy, who will be supporting the best junior prize. Youngsters (U16) and female players have been encouraged to join this strong event as each team should have one competitor from these two categories, mandatorily. A team's overall strength should be equal to or above 2400 and comprise of a total of five players each. A time control of 10+2 minutes has been applied for this event, which makes it more attractive for the viewers as well, who can take in a dose of the best playing against the best of the country. 10 Teams will be battling it out for glory in the league with a round robin in the first two days and a knockout format called the 'Superfinal' being conducted on the final day.
Here are the teams playing in this event-
1.Chess Gurukul captained by GM R.B.Ramesh
2. SuperKids Captained by GM Srinath Narayanan
3. Desi Boys Captained by IM Vishal Sareen
4. Five Fighters Captained by GM Vishnu Prasanna
5. United India Captained by IM Nubairshah Shaikh
6. Chess Thulir Captained by GM M.Shyam Sundar
7. Chess Pathshala Captained by GM Swapnil Dhopade
8. Cheeky Cheetahs Captained by Atharva Godbole
9. Undercover Agents Captained by IM Padmini Rout
10. Chess Gyaan Captained by GM M.R. Venkatesh
If one has missed out on some action in the chess world, these online tournaments have been great victories. One can now not wait to catch the action from the Indian Chess League, which will definitely be one-of-a-kind event for all the Indian chess fans and supporters!