India keen to host Gukesh-Ding World Chess Championship match - Hindustan Times
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India keen to host Gukesh-Ding World Chess Championship match

Apr 25, 2024 11:14 PM IST

Fide is yet to receive formal bids and they are expected to decide on the host country by June.

India is likely to bid for the World Chess Championship match between D Gukesh and Ding Liren, tentatively scheduled to take place in November this year. Gukesh became the youngest-ever Candidates winner in Toronto last weekend, earning the right to challenge reigning world champion Ding Liren.

D Gukesh and Ding Liren at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament (Getty )
D Gukesh and Ding Liren at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament (Getty )

The 17-year-old returned to his home city, Chennai, in the wee hours of Thursday to a rousing welcome. Kids from his school, Velammal Vidyalaya, showed up at Chennai International Airport at 3 am in their uniforms wearing Gukesh-face masks and carrying placards shaped like chessboards. Amid the crowds and pandemonium, Gukesh spotted his mother Padma and went over to give her a quick hug as she planted a kiss on his cheeks.

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An Indian challenger sets the stage for the country to host the match for the first time in 11 years. In 2013, Chennai was the venue for the match between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, which the Indian lost.

A senior Fide functionary told HT that India has expressed interest. The bidding process will begin in May. “There are several countries, including India, who’ve expressed interest. We will decide on the host country by June.”

All India Chess Federation secretary Dev Patel was quoted by PTI as saying that they will contact FIDE in this regard on Friday. According to him, the states in contention to host the match are Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.

But if the match comes to India, Tamil Nadu could be an obvious favourite.

The current AICF dispensation is fairly new with office-bearers being elected for the 2024-27 term only last month. Soon after his win, AICF functionaries got on a video call with Gukesh and assured him of their support for the match.

"We are still assessing the modalities and technicalities involved in it," a senior AICF official told HT.

"These are exciting times for chess in India and we're trying to explore the best possibilities to host the match. We are a new general body; we don't have any experience in hosting any Fide events. There are also views around the sort of pressure playing a match like this at home can have on the player. So, we are trying to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire situation. We will be chatting with stakeholders to discuss the approximate budget, possible venues, the extended support if required from sponsors and the government. Officially there hasn’t been any decision made in this regard. We want to do everything we can so that Gukesh can go out there and become world champion."

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