The League of Exceptional Champions: The first edition of the Global Chess League set to start in Dubai

The League of Exceptional Champions: The first edition of the Global Chess League set to start in Dubai

The City of Gold is about to witness an extraordinary gathering of chess masters as the inaugural edition of the Global Chess League prepares to kick off in Dubai

Dubai, June 21, 2023: From the 22nd of June to the 2nd of July, the first edition of the Global Chess League will take place in Dubai, featuring the world’s strongest players, including world champions (active and former) in all three chess categories – classical, rapid and blitz. The capital of UAE – also referred to as the City of Gold due to its famed gold market – will be the centre of the chess world for two weeks. This is the second most important chess event held in Dubai, following the match for the title of World Chess Champion in 2021. This unparalleled gathering will showcase 36 top-ranked players categorized as Chess Icons, Superstars, and Prodigies (those born in 2002 and later), vying for the ultimate glory.

The cream of the crop:

The very best in the chess world today will take part in this event as members of six different teams.

Leading them will be the former world champion in classical chess, and reigning world champion in rapid and blitz, Magnus Carlsen. 

Joining Carlsen in the pool of players tipped as ‘Chess Icons’, are – fellow former world champion, Viswanathan Anand, two-time challenger for the title of World Champion Ian Nepomniachtchi, former Blitz world champion Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, as well the 2021 winner of the chess World Cup Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

The pool of Superstars includes Nodirbek Abdusattorov (2021 world rapid champion), Alexander Grischuk (three-time world blitz champion) and Daniil Dubov (2018 world rapid champion), as well as a score of top-Indian players such as Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi and Gukesh D.

The world’s leading women players are also taking part, including Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk (who held titles of world champion in classical and rapid chess), Kateryna Lagno (two times world blitz champion and once a world rapid champion), and world-leading players Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli. The event in Dubai will also feature a surprising return to the board of Hou Yifan, a four-time world champion who has in recent years dedicated herself to a career in academia.

The full list of players can be found here.

The teams competing in the League:

The Global Chess League, the first global chess franchise of its kind, brings together distinguished sports entrepreneurs as franchise owners. Leading global and Indian companies such as U SPORTS, Insurekot Sports (ISPL), Punit Balan Group, Triveni Group (Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd. and Triveni Turbine Ltd.), Chingari App, and APL Apollo-led SG Sports all own one team each taking part in the competition.

The event will feature six teams, made up of six players. Each team will consist of one Icon player, two male players, two female players and one prodigy player (those born in 2002 and later).

The teams are:

The makeup of each team was decided in a drafting session where each team owner had to bid for the player they wanted in their camp

The full list of teams can be found here.

A new competition concept:

The inaugural event will display a completely new chess format reminiscent of the Champions League in football or the Indian Premier League in cricket.

The Global Chess League will feature a unique playing concept – with each match of the league taking place at a different time, played in a double round-robin format. For the first time in chess, all members of a team will be playing a match with pieces of the same colour.

A new scoring system with match points and game points awarded based on the outcome with white/black pieces brings a new element of dynamics and uncertainty to the rankings. While a game won with white pieces will bring 3 game points, a game won with black pieces will bring four points, and a draw brings one point to each side. The team which scores the most game points in a match will receive an additional three match points, while an even outcome will see both teams get a match point each.

The time control for the games is 15 minutes per game plus a 30-second bonification for each move. 

The top two teams with the most match points will play in the finals on the 2nd of July.

The regulations of the event can be found here.

The opening ceremony:

The opening ceremony of the Global Chess League is scheduled for June 21st at 7:00 PM local time in The Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Dubai. The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the winning trophy as well as the official anthem of the Global Chess League.

The first match will take place on June 22nd at 5:30 PM GST at the Le Méridien Hotel (the tournament venue) between Triveni Continental Kings and upGrad Mumba Masters.