India’s own elite online chess tour starts on March 31 with a star-studded line-up of 16 top talents from every corner of the country. The MPL Indian Chess Tour is the first regional expansion of the world-renowned Meltwater Champions Chess Tour (where this year Carlsen won Airthings Masters and just yesterday the Charity Chess Cup). Its launch underlines the incredible boom in chess interest in India. A prize pot of $100,000 is at stake in the MPL event plus golden tickets to the elite Tour where India’s best will get to take on the world’s best. The new MPL Indian Chess Tour is being hosted by Play Magnus Group (PMG), founded by World Champion Magnus Carlsen, in partnership with esports giant Mobile Premier League (MPL).
Leg 1 will be a four-day rapid chess tournament running from March 31 to April 3, starting every day at 15:30 IST / 12 CEST. The time control is 15m + 10s. In the line-up is a mix of some of India’s hottest chess talent, both established and new. Top of the bill is India’s new national champion Arjun Erigaisi, the 18-year-old from Telangana who recently won the Challengers event at Wijk aan Zee. Dommaraju Gukesh, from Chennai, is another one of India’s brightest stars hoping to break through to the top level. Gukesh, who is now 15, is a huge talent who narrowly missed out on the record for the world’s youngest grandmaster aged 12. Both Erigaisi and Gukesh are now currently going strong in the Delhi Chess Masters
The line-up also includes more established stars like the Keralan S.L. Narayanan, Adhiban Baskaran, Harika Dronavalli and “Mr Commonwealth” Abhijeet Gupta.
Together with MPL, Play Magnus Group aims to bring the innovative online format of the $1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour to India and encourage new growth in the game across the region. The MPL Tour will comprise four online tournaments followed by a Final where the winner will be crowned MPL Indian Chess Tour Champion 2022. The matches will be streamed on chess24, chess24india and MPL’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
People can also follow the action on the MPL App where the matches will be streamed live.
Commenting on the partnership and the Tour, Namratha Swamy, Country Head – India, MPL, said: “We are excited to partner with the Play Magnus Group and launch the first regional version of the prestigious Meltwater Champions Chess Tour in India. At MPL, we have been consistently focusing on popularizing Chess and supporting the talent across the country through many initiatives. India is the first country to see expansion of such a world-class tournament and this goes on to prove that Indians’ interest in Chess has increased significantly during the past few years. This Chess Tour will provide a great opportunity for India’s Chess players to compete at a global level.”
The winner of each tournament will receive an invitation to the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and an opportunity to play against the world’s best chess players including World Chess Champion and highest rated player of all time, Magnus Carlsen. They will also qualify for a knockout final with a $10,000 top prize.