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AICF President Nitin Narang announces Rs 65 cr budget for 'Bharatiya Chess' ecosystem

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 4 (PTI) The president of the All-India Chess Federation Nitin Narang on Saturday announced a Rs 65 crore budget to bolster the 'Bharatiya Chess' and its ecosystem to unparalleled heights.

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Following a meeting late Saturday evening, decisions were taken on key initiatives, including financial and institutional support for the professional players, along with the grassroots level players.

It would also include the launch of two special programs -- AICF Pro and AICF Popular -- to promote chess on a wider scale across the country.

Among the other proposals discussed during the meeting were coming up with a chess development fund, introducing strong financial backing with player contracts and coaching across levels, financially supporting district and state associations, setting up a state-of-the-art National Chess Arena (NCA) for elite-level training and an AICF Rating system.

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Below are some of the key initiatives set to be introduced by the AICF: ‘One Nation, One Registration’ -- An innovative online platform that will facilitate seamless registration for players, with unique login credentials to State Associations at no cost to enhance participation.

The AICF will come up with two-year contracts for national-level players, from U-7 to U-19 age groups, disbursing funds ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 to players via Direct Benefit Transfer under the relevant categories.

‘Cash Rewards for Top 20 Chess Players' -- It is to recognize and reward excellence in chess, allocating cash awards to the top 10 male and female Indian players based on their FIDE rankings. The top five male and female players will each receive Rs 25,00,000, while the players ranked 6th to 10th will each be awarded Rs 12,50,000.

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Supporting State Associations financially -- The AICF will commit across three years — Year 1: Rs 12,50,000; Year 2: Rs 2,50,000; Year 3: Rs 15,00,000.

Women In Chess -- It is the aim to enhance inclusivity and opportunity in chess for women, expanding the Smart Girl Program with a minimum of 50 annual events, each supported by a Rs 1,00,000 grant. Further reinforcing this commitment is a 33% reservation for women in several key areas.

Encouraging and Incentivising Chess Content Creators -- It will aim to enhance chess content creation by collaborating with YouTubers, Influencers, and Streamers and fostering new creators through mentorship from established content creators to nurture a thriving community of chess content creators.

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National Chess Awards and Development Conference -- To honour exceptional coaches and players and concurrently bring together industry leaders and universities to advance chess through strategic workshops and discussions, recognizing significant contributions to the game and societal development.

The corporate chess league -- It is an innovative move where the AICF will allow corporates to host AICF-rated tournaments by becoming members.

AICF's social initiatives -- An aim to drive the social agenda using chess.

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Chess development fund -- It will further support initiatives such as trainer training programs, coach certification, and outreach efforts, including workshops and conferences.

A management board -- It will be appointed by the AICF President and will be composed of experienced corporate professionals from various sectors.

Besides the above initiatives, Narang noted that challenges like integration of chess into school curricula, chess in the education system, identification and nurturing of talent, strengthening of grassroots academies and training institutions, and sustainability of the AICF will also be addressed.

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Remarking on the significant rollout of the initiatives, Narang stated in a media release, “Players are at the heart of chess, and many have to compromise on their passion due to the lack of funds, institutional support, and opportunities. I am committed to making every player’s dream a reality through myriad initiatives rolled out today in our Rs 65 Cr budget.

"We are setting up a chess development fund to ensure that we empower the grassroots level players and bring them to a global level of excellence. My mission is to bring chess to every household, with the motto 'Ghar Ghar Chess - Har Ghar Chess'.

"We will also support state associations for three years with aid up to Rs 15 lakhs and initiate national-level player contracts for 42 players with a budget outlay of 2 crores across age groups under AICF Pro while ushering in an India-specific player ranking system.

"The top 20 FIDE-rated players' would get annual contracts of Rs 25,00,000 and Rs 12,50,000 per annum with a total outlay of 4 crores. We want chess to be played in every household across generations, from the youth to senior citizens, with a big focus on including women. I aspire to see India emerge as a nation of grandmasters." PTI AYG KHS

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