Chennai: In the wake of Viswanathan Anand's fifth world title, the All India Chess Federation has decided to promote the game by increasing the prize money of many tournaments besides introducing new events. The AICF will spend Rs 50 lakh more on prize money starting this year.
The cash awards to medal winners in Asian and World Championships have been doubled with immediate effect and the National Premier Championships will have a bigger prize purse from next year. The AICF will contribute Rs 6 lakh while the organising association will have to ensure the remaining Rs 4 lakh to make it a million rupees championship.
In the women's tournament, the AICF will contribute Rs 3.5 lakh to the existing 2.5 lakh to make it a Rs 6 lakh prize money event.
The format of National Premier Championships will also be changed from next year. It will be an elite event with only 14 players participating instead of the present 45.
There will be no direct entry except for the defending champion and top four rated players of the country. The remaining nine will qualify from the national challengers.
These decisions were taken at the annual general body meeting in Chennai in which the Federation President JCD Prabhakaran made some key announcement for the betterment of the game in the country.
In addition to this, the AICF announced a total of Rs 20 lakhs for two high category events for men and women. For the men's tournament, the total prize fund of Rs 12 lakh will be given by AICF while for the women’s; it will give Rs 8 lakh.
Chauhan also announced Rs 1 lakh cash incentive to the organisers of National Under-7, 9, 11, 13 and 17 to help organise the events better.
"Our only aim is to be the number one chess playing nation in the world, for that luckily we now have funds that we are trying to channelise in the best possible manner for the benefits of the players," said Modi.
For the first time in the history of Indian chess, there will be eight international open events in the country starting this year.
To have more opportunities for the Indian players, Chauhan announced that there will be four more events later this year.
"We are going to organise two back-to-back events at Vizag and Nagpur in October and then in December there will be two more internationals at Pune and Gurgaon," he said.
Chauhan also cited the importance of a full time sponsor which the AICF does not have and yet they have taken such bold steps.
"We are taking this step knowing fully well that we are not supported by any corporate house in a big way, yet we feel this is necessary. After all Anand is now five times world champion and our players deserve a lot more than they currently get, we are looking at help from any possible quarters and I appeal to the corporate world to help promote chess. I think it's the least we can do in view of Anand's success," said Chauhan.
The AICF secretary also lauded Anand for his fifth world title and said that he should be considered for the Bharat Ratna.