SOA To Host International Grand Master Chess Festival In January 2024

SOA To Host International Grand Master Chess Festival In January 2024

Bhubaneswar: Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University (SOA) is going to organize the inaugural SOA International Grand Masters Chess Festival in Bhubaneswar from January 28 to February 4, 2024. To be organized by the All Odisha Chess Association (AOCA), the 8-day event boasts of a substantial prize pool of Rs. 35 lakh and enjoys collaborative support from SOA, the International Chess Federation (ICF), the All India Chess Federation (AICF), the Sports Authority of India (SAI), and the Odisha government.

With expected participation of approximately 1500 players from 18 to 20 countries, the tournament will set to take place in Campus-2 of the university. During a recent press conference, Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda, the Vice-Chancellor of SOA, highlighted the global appeal of the event, revealing confirmed entries from countries such as Denmark, Netherlands, Iran, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, Egypt, Philippines, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Slovakia, Zimbabwe, and India.

Representatives from AOCA, including Basant Kumar Das (Vice-President) and Debabrata Bhatta (Secretary), along with Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das (Dean of Students’ Welfare) of SOA, were present at the press conference. Mr. Bhatta commended SOA’s significant support for the event, emphasizing its positive impact on popularizing chess as a sport. He noted the university’s contribution of infrastructure and financial backing and highlighted the state government’s initiative to establish a Chess Academy in Bhubaneswar to further promote the game.

The tournament is expected to attract 60 to 70 Grand Masters and International Masters, with more than 20 participants from India alone. Grand Master Abhijeet Gupta, with an ELO rating of 2596 and a notable victory in the Junior World Chess Championship in Turkey in 2008, currently holds the top seed in the tournament.

Participants will compete in three categories—Category-A, Category-B, and Category-C—with varying prize amounts. Category-A offers a total prize money of Rs. 20 lakh, while Category-B and Category-C will each have Rs. 7.5 lakh in prizes, according to Mr. Bhatta.

The tournament will adhere to FIDE laws of Chess and the FIDE Swiss system, featuring 10 rounds in Category ‘A’ and ‘B,’ and 9 rounds in Category ‘C.’ Stringent enforcement of the latest FIDE rules is assured. Additionally, Indian players must undergo registration with the All India Chess Federation (AICF) for the 2023-24 financial year, while foreign participants require a valid FIDE ID for eligibility.

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