The Indian software services major gets the official nod for its first-of-its-kind “phygital” – physical and digital – worldwide competition.
The International Chess Federation has struck up a new partnership with Tech Mahindra, India’s leading provider of digital, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions. According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two, the software services major will work with the federation to create the Global Chess League, which has now achieved an accredited status by FIDE – the French acronym for the federation – as the only world league officially recognised by the governing body of the sport of chess.
Tech Mahindra says the new competition will be established as a first-of-its-kind “phygital”, or physical and digital league, engaging players from all levels – professional or otherwise. In principle, it will have several franchise-owned teams from across the globe, which will comprise a mix of titled players along with juniors and wildcard entrants, playing each other in an innovative format.
Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, said: “From tweeting about the game to forming a league under Viswanathan Anand’s mentorship, and now on-boarding FIDE – the entire journey has been very gratifying.
“With the coming together of all the forces in the field of chess and technology, we hope the ‘Global Chess League’ will take the game to new heights and create vibrant opportunities for the entire chess community across the world.”
FIDE and Tech Mahindra have committed to join forces and expertise to ensure that the spirit of the game and the highest sporting and organisation standards are maintained. FIDE will help structure the technical regulations, and promote the league through its media channels, providing the global audience with an engaging platform.
Viswanathan Anand, five-time World Chess Champion and the mentor and partner of the Global Chess League, said: “With FIDE coming on board along with Tech Mahindra, I am sure the Global Chess League will help in catalysing the popularity of the game while keeping the spirit of the game intact, and create opportunities for young talent across the world.”
The collaboration between Tech Mahindra and FIDE is also designed to promote playing of chess in new and innovative formats, create opportunities for youth, and foster many champions globally. The partnership aims to leverage new-age technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, among others, and explore new ways of promoting the game through interactive tech-enabled platforms.
A new holding company will be created to operate the functioning of the Global Chess League, in which the FIDE president will be part of the board of directors. The project will also count the expertise of Viswanathan Anand as mentor and partner, who will advise and help shape the league.
Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President, said: “The motto of Chess is ‘Gens una sumus,’ meaning ‘We are one people’, and we at FIDE take this unique opportunity to popularise the game which bears the motto of uniting the world.
“We are endeavouring to dramatically enhance its visibility through a global league powered by technology and are honoured to have partnered with Tech Mahindra. I am certain that Tech Mahindra’s expertise will further aid in elevating the Global Chess League to the next level, accelerate its popularity and lay out the most riveting tournament for chess fans.”
As part of its NXT.NOW framework, which aims to enhance “Human Centric Experience”, Tech Mahindra says it has a deep focus on leveraging cutting-edge technologies to deliver enhanced experience and enable digital transformation to meet the evolving needs of the customer.
C.P. Gurnani, MD and CEO of Tech Mahindra, said: “Chess and the business ecosystem are reflections of the same ‘game’, which hold people, strategy and adaptations at their core. The partnership with FIDE marks the coming together of two organizations to promote, revolutionise and drive fan engagement of a historical game, like chess.
“We see great potential in this partnership which aims to raise the profile of the game, discover next generations of chess champions – including women and children, enhance the fan base across the globe and take it to new commercial heights.”
The Global Chess League, announced by Tech Mahindra in February this year, will include teams of a mix of titled women and men players along with juniors and wildcard entrants playing each other. The teams qualifying for the semifinals will enter the knockout stage of the championship. Tech Mahindra says it will act as the architect behind the concept, providing necessary operational and technological support to execute the vision.
The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is the governing body of the sport of chess, which regulates all international chess competitions. Constituted as a non-governmental institution, it was recognised by the International Olympic Committee as a Global Sporting Organisation in 1999.
FIDE currently has its headquarters in Laussane, but it was initially founded in 1924 in Paris. It is now one of the largest sporting organisations, encompassing 195 countries as affiliate members, in the form of National Chess Federations.
Tech Mahindra’s choice of chess is related to its global appeal, with dozens of millions of players across all continents and more than 60 million games in average played every day.