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The All India Chess Federation announces Rs.2 crore (US$240,459) assistance to Vidit, Pragg and Vaishali

by Sagar Shah - 14/11/2023

FIDE Candidates tournament will be held in April 2024 in Canada. Leading up to this all-important event that will determine the World Championship challenger, the AICF has announced a financial assistance to Vidit Gujrathi, R. Praggnanandhaa and R.Vaishali to the tune of Rs.2 crore (US$240,459). This amount will be divided between the three of them and will be used for their training, travel, building a team and much more. It is truly a fantastic move by the National federation to support the Candidates of India!

A wonderful move by AICF

Three Candidates with the Chairman FIDE Advisory Board Bharat Singh Chauhan

The All India Chess Federation (AICF) is embarking on a historic journey to propel Indian chess to unprecedented heights. Over the past three years, the Indian chess landscape has undergone a massive reform, evident in its epitome of success on all fronts – from over-the-board play to the seamless organization of tournaments. The recent successful hosting of the Chess Olympiad at Chennai made history, further solidifying India's presence on the world stage. A handful of Indian players, inspired by the legacy of the legendary Viswanathan Anand, are carrying the torch forward, contributing to the nation's rising prominence in international chess.

Holding the Chess Olympiad in India within a record 4 months of prepratory time was a phenomenal achievement by the All India Chess Federation in 2022

In a strategic move, the federation has committed Rs. 2 crore (US$ 240,459) of financial assistance for Praggnandhaa, Vidit Gujarathi and R.Vaishali as they prepare for upcoming chess events, marking a historic chapter in Indian chess. President Sanjay Kapoor, speaking on behalf of the AICF, stated, "We recognize the immense potential of Praggnandhaaa, Vidit, and Vaishali to make history in the world of chess. Our financial backing is a strategic move to empower these exceptional players and ensure they have the support they need to chase victory and etch their names in the annals of chess greatness."

From left to right: Vipnesh Bharadwaj (Interim Secretary, AICF), Vidit Gujrathi, Bharat Singh Chauhan (Chairman of FIDE Advisory Board), Sanjay Kapoor (President, AICF), Praggnanandhaa, R. Vaishali, Naresh Sharma (Treasurer)

The financial assistance, covering training camps, coaching fees, travel expenses, and logistical requirements, aims to provide the players with the resources required to focus entirely on their game. The move comes in the wake of their recent successes, including Praggnandhaa's runner-up finish at the World Cup and the double delight at the FIDE Grand Swiss 2023, where Vidit and Vaishali clinched both the Open and Women titles, respectively. Commenting on the initiative, Bharat Chauhan, Chairman of the FIDE Advisory Board, stated, "AICF's commitment to supporting and nurturing chess talent is commendable. This bold initiative will undoubtedly contribute to the growth and development of Indian chess on the global stage. The reforms in the Indian chess landscape are not only evident in their over-the-board success but also in the effective organization of tournaments, putting India at the forefront of the international chess community." Each player will receive Rs.30 lakhs for training and getting a coach. The rest of the money will be used by the players for their seconds, travel, mental trainer and all other expenses/food etc.

A wonderful gesture by the National Federation that is sure to give a massive boost to the Candidates preparation of all three Indian gems - Vidit, Pragg and Vaishali

Looking ahead, the AICF announced the hosting of five International Grandmaster Chess Tournaments in the next two months. This initiative aims to provide opportunities for the next generation of players to earn international title norms, contributing to the overall development of chess in India.

Pragg and Vaishali

The golden siblings of Indian chess | Photo: Maria Emelianova 

Speaking to ChessBase India, Pragg and Vaishali mentioned, "Big thanks to All India chess Federation for such a big support to all 3 of us in such a short period. The FIDE Grand Swiss got over just few days back and we are here in Delhi today. This helps for both of us to plan our training sessions. Grateful to AICF for the their support."

Vidit Gujrathi

The winner of FIDE Grand Swiss 2023 - Vidit Gujrathi | Photo: Anna Shtourman

Talking to ChessBase India, Vidit said, "I hadn’t even come back from Grand Swiss and was in fact commuting to Nasik when I got a call from Bharat Uncle and he told me that they are going to extend financial support for us in candidates. I really appreciate this gesture. It shows that they are so keenly looking out for us. Now I can set the ball rolling and start building my team."

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