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Back to the Board with IIFL Wealth

by Praful Zaveri - 31/12/2021

The sixth season of IIFL Wealth Mumbai International Open and Junior (Under-13) Chess Tournament started yesterday at the World Trade Center. The gala tournament of Mumbai is back after skipping the last year due to Covid-19 pandemic. The total prize fund of the tournament is ₹ 5 lacs, ₹2.5 lacs each in Open and Junior section. The tournament director IO FA FT Praful Zaveri whose brainchild is this event, decided to take baby steps and instead of going for five-six events and make it a chess festival like we have seen in previous editions, he decided to go for Open and Under-13 event only. Photo: Praful Zaveri

A hiatus so long comes to an end with Mumbai going back to the board with IIFL! Yes, the chess fraternity is indeed delighted to have their favourite tournament – The IIFL Wealth Mumbai International Chess Festival 2021 finally taking off as per traditional dates at World Trade Center.

With the fear of Omicron looming large, I decided that the time is not yet ripe for a full-fledged international event. As in chess training parlance: ‘Stick to the basics’ was the thumb-rule that I decided to follow! As like when we had taken a baby-step in season 1 with just U-13 and Open event.


So, here we are in season 6 with a total participation of 272 players (131 in U13 & 141 players in open) in the two events with a modest prize fund of Rs.5 lacs (2.50 lacs each).


The event was inaugurated by Dr. Elena Remizova, Vice-Consul and Head of the Representation of the Russian Federation in Mumbai. She was impressed with tournament and hopes to bring Karpov to Mumbai (The academy of Indian Chess School at Russian House in Mumbai is named as ‘Anatoly Karpov Chess Club’). We also have plans to re-start the chess library, which was a delight to all the chess lovers who used to frequent Russian House way back in the 1990s!

IO FA FT Praful Zaveri with Dr.Elena Remizova, Vice-Consul and Head of the Representation of the Russian Federation

The biggest challenge that all of us are facing is to maintain covid appropriate behaviour (CAB) but the fears were put to rest as young kids in U13 as well all the players in Open events displayed exemplary conduct, and we are set for nine days of thrilling chess:

Of course, all of us will be missing the legend this year – especially me – the 7th of January in the previous four seasons has always been a delight for me to receive him at the airport, escort him to the hotel and listen to his vast ocean of knowledge! I used to get this bundle of gift with an unbelievable humility this man possesses!


My tweaked dialogue of the epic ‘Troy’ is a testimony to this: “If they ever tell my story, let them say that I walked with a giant, Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but this name will never die! Let them say that I lived in the time of Vishy, the King!!”

File photo of season 5 - presenting the legend with the limited-edition wall clock designed wall clock on his 50th birthday

About the Author

IO FA FT Praful Zaveri is the founder of Indian Chess School Academy. He is a popular trainer in Mumbai and also the author of the critically acclaimed beginners' manual 'The Chess Course'. His vision is to build the chess culture in his hometown Mumbai as well as India and help the country produce many more grandmasters in future.

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