New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) The Global Chess League (GCL) on Monday unveiled the six participating franchises for its highly anticipated first edition, which is scheduled to take place from June 21 to July 2 in Dubai.
upGrad Mumba Masters, Ganges Grandmasters, Balan Alaskan Knights, Triveni Continental Kings, Chingari Gulf Titans and SG Alpine Warriors are the new franchises for the league that will commence with a players’ draft in which franchise owners will select players for their respective teams.
The GCL, a joint venture between Tech Mahindra and FIDE, aims to redefine the world of chess by bringing together the brightest stars in the game, including five-time World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Hou Yifan, Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, Kateryna Lagno, and other renowned players, alongside distinguished sports entrepreneurs as franchise owners.
The FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich, said, “Tech Mahindra Global Chess League started as a dream, and as we are heading towards its actualisation, we have found the right partners who believe in the vision. We are excited that such reputed entrepreneurs have joined the ranks of GCL. We want to welcome all the owners and their teams to the GCL family and look forward to making the league a big success.”
Jagdish Mitra, Chairperson of the Global Chess League Board, said, “GCL, the world’s first and largest official franchise league of its kind, blends traditional chess with the new era, aiming to enhance the fan experience through digitization, innovation, and technology.
“The joint-team format, encompassing men, women, and U21 players, demonstrates our commitment to equal opportunities for all. With a cutting-edge broadcast reaching 600 million viewers in 160 countries, GCL will captivate new fans worldwide. We are delighted to have found the right partners to establish GCL’s strong presence across continents and look forward to creating a lasting legacy,” he said.
The teams are owned by six franchises — U SPORTS, Insurekot Sports (ISPL), Punit Balan Group, Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd., Chingari App, and APL Apollo-led SG Sports — which incidentally all entities owned by Indians or corporates owned by Indians.
Joining the GCL bandwagon are three experienced sports entrepreneurs U SPORTS, Insurekot Sports, and Punit Balan Group, who have successful investments in leagues in other sports. Apart from the seasoned owners, three new names, Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd., Chingari App, and APL Apollo-led SG Sports, have picked up the other teams.
U SPORTS, led by Ronnie Screwvala, is renowned for its successes in sports like Kabaddi, Table Tennis, and eSports in India and will make its international debut with the upGrad Mumba Masters team in the GCL. They also own the Pro Kabaddi League franchise UMumba.
The Ganges Grandmasters is owned by Insurekot Sports (ISPL), an entity owned by Suresh Kotak. ISPL also owns a team in Pro Kabaddi League and Ultimate Table Tennis League team, Puneri Paltan.
The Punit Balan Group (PBG), will own the Balan Alaskan Knights team. Led by entrepreneur, businessman and sportspreneur, Punit Balan, the group has invested heavily across various sports leagues in India over the last two years and aims to contribute to India’s journey of becoming the sporting powerhouse globally.
Triveni Engineering & Industries Limited, led by former All India Chess Federation (AICF) president Dhruv M. Sawhney, will make its sports franchise debut with Triveni Continental Kings. The group is one of the largest integrated sugar manufacturers in India and a leading player in engineering businesses comprising Power Transmission business and Water & Wastewater treatment solutions, and Triveni Turbine Limited (TTL), a focused, growing and market-leading corporation with core competency in industrial heat & power solutions and decentralized steam-based renewable turbines up to 100 MW size,
Dhruv M. Sawhney, Chairman, Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd., and Triv”ni Turbine Ltd., said, “We are excited to make our sports debut with Triveni Continental Kings in the Global Chess League (GCL). Chess is renowned for its strategic thinking and intellectual prowess that aligns perfectly with our core values.
“Our aim is to create meaningful connections with chess enthusiasts and the global chess community, nurture talent, and contribute to the growth of chess worldwide. Moreover, the association of Tech Mahindra with GCL reinforces our trust and confidence that the first-of-its-kind chess tournament will be a remarkable global success,” he said.
Chingari App (Tech4Billion Group), the world’s fastest-growing Web3 Social Networking App, whose popularity has skyrocketed since the pandemic, will also debut in the sports business with its team Chingari Gulf Titans in the GCL.
The sixth in this list of illustrious owners is APL Apollo-led SG Sports, one of India’s largest and most trusted building material companies, which will join the GCL bandwagon with its team SG Alpine Warriors.
On the occasion, the GCL revealed plans to kick off its first two seasons with the participation of six dedicated franchises.
The annual GCL tournament will introduce a unique mixed-team format, wherein each of the six franchises will engage in a total of 10 matches played in a double round-robin style.
In this exciting setup, the winner of each match will be determined through a best-of-six board scoring system, played simultaneously. The top two teams emerging from these thrilling encounters will then proceed to the final, scheduled to take place on July 2, which will crown the World Champion Franchise Team.