Former champion Grandmaster B Adhiban of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) has been handed the top billing in a strong field which includes young sensation Arjun Erigaisi in the 58th edition of the Senior National Chess Championship starting here on Friday.
In all 184 players from across the country including 23 Grandmasters and 30 International Masters, will be seen in action in the one-week long tournament, formerly known as National Premier Chess Championship.
Commonwealth champion Abhijeet Gupta, former national champions Karthikeyan Murali, S.P Sethuraman, M.R Lalith Babu, defending champion Aravindh Chithambaram, young talents Gukesh D, Abhimanyu Puranik, and Aryan Chopra are the other top players taking part in the event to be held at Ganges Club, Kanpur.
The championship will be conducted under the Swiss League System with 11 rounds with a time control of 90 minutes with a 30-second increment from move one.
After roping in MPL Sports Foundation as official sponsor for all the national championships, the AICF increased the prize fund of all nationals substantially and the top ten players in the event will be awarded cash prizes amounting to Rs 30 lakh out of which Rs 6 lakh is reserved for the winner. The winner will also get a bonus of 25 points while deciding the Indian team for the World Chess Olympiad and Asian Games which are scheduled later this year.
All India Chess Federation National Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said that the way we have developed and taken steps to reach the district and state-level competitions, the AICF said in a press release.
"We are trying to make chess even more popular throughout the country. The All India Chess Federation is searching for talent in Chess through the 'Chess in Schools' program. AICF is confident that promising players will come forward and bring laurels to the country. In other sports Kanpur is remembered and referred to, then why not in the chess field the mind game. Such competitions in cities will bring out players living in oblivion," he told a press conference here on Thursday.
Secretary of UP Chess Sports Association AK Raizada stated that for the first time 23 Grand Masters, 30 International Masters are taking part in this event as well as increased prize fund are the main highlights of this edition.