Chennai: The All India Chess Federation (AICF) will organise state-level tournaments for school children across India in the coming months to select 268 students who will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with international chess stars and watch the world's biggest chess event unfolding live for the first time in India, scheduled in Mahabalipuram near Chennai, from July 28 to August 1.
The initiative, a part of the Chess in Schools Project by AICF, will be conducted through the state associations and with the support of Tamil Nadu government. The national sports body will be spending Rs 86,00,000 in order to conduct the tournaments and create chess awareness among the school children and boost chess activities in the country ahead of the Chess Olympiad. According to a release, 76 children from 38 districts of Tamil Nadu and six players from each of the other 32 states and union territories affiliated to the All India Chess Federation will be travelling to Mahabalipuram to witness the Olympiad.
No entry fee will be collected from the players to participate in the tournaments. A travelling allowance will be provided o each student, in addition to free boarding and lodging for three days.
AICF will be allocating Rs 1,00,000 for each district for district-level tournaments in Tamil Nadu while Rs 1,50,000 for every thirty-two states/union territories affiliated to the All India Chess Federation.
Tournament Director of the 44th Chess Olympiad, Bharat Singh Chauhan explained: "We are trying to attract the younger generation to chess. We aim to get the participation of at least 30,000 students in this project. For school children, access to travel and tickets for the Olympiad would be difficult and we want to provide them with this much-needed exposure. We are spending about Rs 1 crore on this project."
School children, registered with AICF for 2022 -23 and below 15 years of age--born on or after January 1, 2007, will be taking part as tournaments will be played for boys and girls for two days in each state. Tamil Nadu being the host state has the privilege of organising the district-level tournaments in all the districts separately.
The release said that winners and runners-up of the state level tournaments, as well as the best boy and girl among the government school children, will be selected while from Tamil Nadu, champion boy and girl from each district will get this lifetime experience.