Unprecedented Showdown: Ding Liren, Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand and Hou Yifan Join Global Chess League
Global Chess League (GCL), a joint venture between Tech Mahindra and FIDE, today announced the complete list of players for the upcoming inaugural edition. The first season of the Global Chess League will be held at the Dubai Chess & Culture Club from June 21st – July 2nd, 2023, in association with the Dubai Sports Council. It will feature reigning World Chess Champion Ding Liren, the world’s top-ranked chess player and five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen, five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand, and four-time Women’s World champion Hou Yifan, among others.
Grandmaster Liren, said, “Global Chess League appeared to be a fantastic opportunity from the moment I heard about it, and I was eager to participate. Not only is it an interesting format, but also, as an ICON player, I get to contribute to an exciting concept that will change the face of the chess world for years to come. Further, knowing that GCL will see participation from players worldwide, it will be a strong field, and I look forward to meeting all the players.”
Carlsen is the world’s top-ranked chess player. A five-time World Chess Champion, and the reigning four-time World Rapid Chess Champion, Carlsen’s peak FIDE rating has been the highest in chess history. Speaking about his association with the league, the world’s top-ranked chess player Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, said, “The Global Chess League will be a great new event in over-the-board chess that has never been done before. I am excited to be a part of this unique mixed-team format. Chess is played by many people worldwide, but it needs to catch up to other major sports as a spectator sport, and I am optimistic that GCL will contribute significantly to this. I look forward to meeting the team, competing against India’s exciting new generation of players, and enjoying the league’s team spirit.”
All teams will compete in a one-of-a-kind joint team format at GCL, with each team consisting of six players a minimum of two women chess players per team. To add to the thrilling level of competition, five more World Champions will be competing in the Global Chess League, including reigning World Chess Champion Ding Liren, 2021 World Rapid Chess Champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 2008 Blitz Chess World Champion Leinier Domínguez, three-time Blitz Chess World Champion Alexander Grischuk, and 2018 World Rapid Chess Champion Daniil Dubov.
Global Chess League will also feature top female superstars, including Grandmaster Hou Yifan, a four-time Women’s World Chess Champion and the second highest-rated female player of all time. She was a chess prodigy who was the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of grandmaster at the age of 14. Hou Yifan is accompanied by Grandmaster Koneru Humpy, Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli, Grandmaster Kateryna Lagno, Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, Grandmaster Tan Zhongyi, Grandmaster Nana Dzagnidze, Grandmaster Bella Khotenashvili, Grandmaster Nino Batsiashvili, Grandmaster Irina Krush, International Master Polina Shuvalova, and 2018 European Women’s Champion in rapid chess, Elisabeth Paehtz.
Chess Grandmaster Hou Yifan, four-time women’s world chess champion, said, “Global Chess League has already sparked widespread interest, and it is amazing to witness such fervour for the game of chess. I am grateful to Tech Mahindra and FIDE for inviting me to participate in the league’s inaugural season, and I cannot wait for the season to begin. GCL, with its unique joint format of men and women players on the same team, is certain to take the game in new directions and open doors that have never been explored before. Chess fans all over the world are in for a treat.”
In addition to the renowned champions, the league will provide a stage for emerging talent from diverse nations, offering them an opportunity to compete against the very best in the world. Six U21 players will also compete in the GCL, with the trio of Grandmasters, Praggnanandhaa R., Raunak Sadhwani, and Nihal Sarin, leading the pack of prodigies. Grandmaster Jonas Buhl Bjerre, Grandmaster Javokhir Sindarov, chess prodigy and Grandmaster Andrey Esipenko complete the list of players in the category.
The FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, said, “The Tech Mahindra Global Chess League will feature chess icons, legends, and world champions from around the world, and we are excited to see the biggest names in chess compete for the top prize. This league promises a never-before-seen level of thrilling chess action, and the anticipation is palpable. We are confident the league will usher in a new era in the modern chess ecosystem.”
In addition to the players mentioned above, the Global Chess League will feature several other superstars of chess, including chess Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi, Gukesh D, Arjun Erigaisi, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Yi Wei, Yu Yangyi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Richard Rapport, Kirill Shevchenko, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Salem Salah.
Jagdish Mitra, Chairperson of the Global Chess League Board, said, “We are honoured to have some of the biggest names in chess for the inaugural edition. Apart from being great players, all of them have been ambassadors for the game in their respective countries and worldwide. With them on board, GCL only adds another feather to its cap in becoming a true game changer for the chess ecosystem by introducing a mixed-team format in chess in which men, women, and u-21 players will play on the same team. This is a true testament to our belief in providing equal opportunities to all, regardless of gender. We are certain that the league will drive and inspire a new generation of players to be interested in the growing chess community.”
The league will also set the standards for technological innovations in the sport of chess as Tech Mahindra and FIDE will explore innovative ways to promote the game through interactive technology-enabled platforms by leveraging next-generation technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, among others.