The new president of All India Chess Federation (AICF) Sanjay Kapoor said that the sales of chess boards in India went up by 500% in 2020 compared to 2019. It was discussed during the Annual General Body Meeting attended by 33 state units last week.
The sudden steep rise in the popularity of chess can be identified because of the pandemic where mst of the population stayed indoors and indulged in the game.
With an aim to popularise the sport, the newly-elected office-bearers of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) announced plans, including an Indian Chess League and a schools programme.
“We have been keen on starting the Indian Chess League to popularise the game. The first edition, which will be a franchise model, will be organised this year,” Dr Sanjay Kapoor, the president of the AICF said. At the AGM, it was also decided to host the Women’s Grand Prix, Kapoor confirmed. The AICF will also be bidding for the next available Chess Olympiad.
The AICF also has plans to give a push to the schools programme, which secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said would be focussed on government schools and will involve up to 700 teachers, who will be trained by experts to teach children the game.
“Before April we plan to start the chess in schools programme. We will be using a slightly modified version of the Fide curriculum,” Chauhan added. The AICF has had a Chess in Schools (CIS) project, but Chauhan said there will be greater emphasis on spreading the reach.
Other decisions taken at the AGM were to have a single registration system for players, which will need an annual renewal, starting a centre of excellence, and organising a super tournament.
“The super tournament will see many top players in action. It will give our Grand Masters an opportunity to compete with the best in the business at home,” Kapoor said. “Our plan is to make India a superpower in chess.”