Nine GMs, 24 IMs to participate in 1st SOA International Grand Masters Chess Festival

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SOA chess festival
Around 800 chess players from at least 14 countries are expected to take part in the eight-day tournament.

Bhubaneswar: Nine Grand Masters and 24 International Masters from across the world will take part in the 1st SOA International Grand Masters Chess Festival at Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) here, which will begin on January 28, the organizers said on Thursday.

Some of the finest chess players from Denmark, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Belarus, Egypt, Philippines, Russia, Kazhakstan, Zambia, Nepal and host India will be taking part in the tournament, Gobinda Chandra Mohapatra, president of AOCA, said in a press conference.

Mohapatra said as many as four Grand Masters, eight International Masters, one woman Grand Master and three women International Masters from
foreign countries are expected to feature in the tournament. From India, five Grand Masters, 16 International Masters and six women International Masters have entered the fray.

The top three seeded players of the tournament are Indian Grand Master Diptayan Ghosh (2568 ELO Points), Indian International Master Aronyak Ghosh
(2541 ELO Points) and Grand Master Fawzy Adham of Egypt (2522 ELO Points). The top three women players to have entered the event are Woman Grand

Master Frayna J. Mae of Philippines (2197 ELO Points), Woman International Master Arpita Mukherjee of India (2186 ELO Points) and Woman FIDE Master
Nilssen E. Federica of Denmark (2184 ELO Points), he said.

The tournament having a total prize money of Rs 35 lakh, is being organised by the All Odisha Chess Association (AOCA) with SOA’s support. The event is supported by the International Chess Federation (ICF), All India Chess Federation (AICF), Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Odisha government, Mohapatra said.

SOA vice-chancellor Prof Pradipta Kumar Nanda said it was for the first time that the university is organising an international sports event. “Our efforts
are aimed at making SOA a chess hub,” he said. Around 800 chess players from at least 14 countries are expected to take part in the eight-day tournament, Mohapatra said while praising SOA for extending support to the event.

He said the participants will be split into three categories — A, B and C with category A having a total prize money of Rs 20 lakh, category B and C will
have prize money of Rs 7.5 lakh each.

The tournament will be conducted as per latest FIDE rules of Chess and FIDE Swiss system with 10 rounds in Category ‘A’ and ‘B’ and 9 rounds in Category ‘C’. All players who have registered with the All India Chess Federation (AICF) for the 2023-24 financial year and have an ELO Rating of 1900 or more will be eligible to take part in the tournament.

The foreign players are required to have a valid FIDE ID for participation, Debabrata Bhatta, secretary of AOCA, said. The tournament will end on February 4 with the prize distribution ceremony.

Prof Jyoti Ranjan Das, SOA’s Dean (Students’ Welfare), Shankar Prasad Mishra, Treasurer, AOCA, Muktikanta Mohapatra, Foreign Liasioning Officer,
AOCA and Tapas Mohanty, International Deputy Arbiter were present at the press conference.

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