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Anand Mahindra’s Impact on Chess : From Support to Global Chess League

Anand Mahindra’s passion for chess and his efforts to promote and develop the game are truly commendable. Through his support of young talents, creation of the Global Chess League, and personal engagement with the game, Mahindra has significantly impacted the world of chess.

SPORTS

Aaditya Sharma

7/9/20244 min read

Anand Mahindra: A Visionary Championing the Game of Chess

Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, is a man of many titles: industrialist, billionaire businessman, husband, grandfather, and keen chess player. Known for his influential presence on social media, Mahindra has shown a remarkable interest in chess, a game that has gained significant popularity and recognition in recent years. This article explores Anand Mahindra's profound interest in chess and his contributions to the development and promotion of the game.

A Chess Enthusiast

Anand Mahindra’s enthusiasm for chess is evident in his active participation and support for the game. He has not only taken a personal interest in playing chess but has also used his platform to celebrate the achievements of young chess prodigies. Mahindra's engagement with the chess community extends beyond mere appreciation; he has become a pivotal figure in the game's promotion, both in India and globally.

Supporting Young Talents

R Praggnanandhaa’s Story

One of the most notable examples of Mahindra’s support is his relationship with R Praggnanandhaa, India’s youngest chess grandmaster. After Praggnanandhaa’s stellar performance at the FIDE World Chess Cup, where he won a silver medal and became the first Indian since Viswanathan Anand to reach the finals, Mahindra announced on social media that he would gift the young star an electric vehicle, fulfilling a long-cherished dream of Praggnanandhaa’s parents. This gesture was not just a token of appreciation but a significant boost for the young chess player's morale and recognition.

Celebrating Success on Social Media

Mahindra often takes to social media platforms like Twitter (now X) to share and celebrate the achievements of young chess players. His posts are filled with inspirational quotes and updates on their successes, helping to bring these young talents into the spotlight. For instance, he has praised players like Arjun, Nihal, and Gukesh, sharing their stories with his millions of followers and helping to raise their profiles.

Creating Platforms for Chess

The Global Chess League

Anand Mahindra’s most ambitious project in the chess world is the Global Chess League (GCL). The GCL, a joint venture between Tech Mahindra and the International Chess Federation (FIDE), is the first franchise-based chess league globally. Launched with the aim of transforming the landscape of professional chess, the league features franchises, players, and stakeholders from around the world.

Ravichandran Ashwin, a renowned Indian cricketer, has become a co-owner of the American Gambits in the lead-up to the second edition of the Global Chess League (GCL), highlighting the league's growing popularity and prestige. This joint venture between Tech Mahindra and the International Chess Federation (FIDE) features six franchises and is set to host its 2024 season in London from October 3 to 12. Ashwin's involvement signifies the league's broad appeal and its ability to attract high-profile personalities from various sports, showcasing its potential to revolutionize the global chess landscape.

Business Impact

The GCL is not just a platform for showcasing chess talent; it’s a significant business venture expected to generate over $40 million in business value over five years. This includes benefits for league owners, players, franchises, sponsors, and broadcasters. The 2024 season of the GCL, scheduled to be played in London, promises to bring chess into the mainstream sports arena, much like other franchise-based leagues in cricket, football, and basketball.

Personal Engagement with Chess

Anand Mahindra’s personal engagement with chess was highlighted during the Tech Mahindra Global Chess League, where he played a brief game against Indian chess grandmaster Gukesh D. Mahindra humorously shared on social media that Gukesh was “gracious” enough to allow him to quit while he was still alive on the board. This playful interaction underscores Mahindra’s genuine love for the game and his respect for its players.

Impact on Indian Chess

Promoting Chess in India

Mahindra’s efforts have significantly contributed to the promotion of chess in India. By supporting young players and creating platforms like the GCL, he has helped bring the game into the limelight. This has inspired many young Indians to take up chess, seeing the recognition and support their peers receive.

Encouraging Corporate Involvement

Mahindra’s involvement has also encouraged other corporate leaders to invest in chess. His initiatives have shown that supporting sports, especially mind sports like chess, can have a positive impact on both the community and the corporate image. This has led to a broader acceptance and encouragement of chess in corporate circles, leading to increased sponsorships and funding for the game.

Mahindra’s Broader Vision

Anand Mahindra’s vision for chess extends beyond the game itself. He sees chess as a tool for intellectual development and strategic thinking. By promoting chess, he aims to foster these skills among young people, preparing them for future challenges. His initiatives reflect a broader vision of using sports as a means to develop character, discipline, and strategic thinking.

Chess as a Cultural Phenomenon

Mahindra’s efforts have also helped position chess as a cultural phenomenon. By highlighting the stories of young chess prodigies and creating high-profile platforms for the game, he has contributed to making chess a part of popular culture. This cultural shift is significant, as it helps change perceptions of chess from a niche activity to a mainstream sport enjoyed by a wide audience.

Anand Mahindra’s passion for chess and his efforts to promote and develop the game are truly commendable. Through his support of young talents, creation of the Global Chess League, and personal engagement with the game, Mahindra has significantly impacted the world of chess. His initiatives have not only helped elevate the game in India but have also contributed to its global recognition. As a visionary leader, Anand Mahindra continues to inspire and support the next generation of chess players, ensuring that the game thrives and evolves in the years to come.