It will be a first-of-its-kind phygital (physical and digital) format league.
Tech Mahindra has also roped in five-time world chess champion and Indian chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand as mentor and partner for the league, who will not just advise but will also help shape the league.
The League will have eight franchise-owned teams from across the world. Each team will comprise a mix of titled women and men players along with juniors and wildcard entrants playing each other in a round robin format.
The teams qualifying for the semi-finals will enter the knockout stage of the championship.
The company said it will announce the final league structure and team details in due course, and that it is actively looking at the prospect of introducing innovative scoring, board selection methods and a fantasy league to maximise viewer engagement.
“Chess still has an incipient and largely untapped potential across the globe. Recently, there has been a surge of interest post the online Chess Olympiad and the enormous popularity of a TV series based on the game,” said Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group, hinting at Netflix’ mini-series ‘The Queen’s Gambit’.
“We hope that the creation of a league will harness this resurgence of interest and bring about a renaissance in the world of chess. I am particularly excited about sharing my learnings from founding the ‘Pro Kabaddi league’ with the team in order to replicate that success on a much larger and global platform,” Mahindra added.
New-age technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality will be at the core and will be leveraged to explore innovative ways of promoting the game through interactive platforms to engage a global audience, Tech Mahindra said in a statement.
“Chess is a game that is played by millions around the world. At this time, a unique opportunity exists to popularise it further and dramatically enhance its visibility through a global league powered by technology,” added Viswanathan Anand.
He added, “I am personally happy to partner with a technology provider like Tech Mahindra, whose endorsement and promotion will certainly elevate the sport to a higher level and offer the right platform to popularise chess across the globe. There is a renewed interest in the game of chess and through this unique global league format, we will be able to keep the spirit of chess intact and ensure the right platform is provided to upcoming talent.”
Tech Mahindra will act as the architect behind this concept and will provide necessary operational and technological support to execute the vision, the company said.