'Indian Chess Federation Lost A Great Branding Opportunity Despite Sponsoring Players'

(MENAFN- IANS) Chennai, April 22 (IANS) Despite paying Rs 40 lakh to all the Indian players who had played in the FIDE Candidates tournament, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) seems to have lost a great branding opportunity.

Interestingly, 17-year-old Indian Grandmaster D. Gukesh won the tournament to become the challenger for the world title held by Chinese Grandmaster Diren Ling in the Open category.

In the women's section of the Candidates tournament, Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy secured the second position.

A record number of five Indian players -- three in the Open section (Grandmasters Gukesh, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, and R. Praggnanandhaa) and two in the women's section (Humpy and Woman Grandmaster R. Vaishali) -- played in the Candidates tournament.

"The AICF had sponsored the five players to the extent of about Rs 40 lakh per player. Strangely there was no tricolour or the AICF logo on the player coats. On the other hand, the logo of a private party on some player coats," a former official of AICF told IANS preferring anonymity.

"The AICF lost a good branding opportunity. It should have insisted on having its logo, the national flag on the player's coat," the official added.

With five Indian players in the Candidates tournament, the AICF could have also created chess fever across the country by holding several tournaments or having a giant screen in some place so that the games could have been beamed, the former official said.

Meanwhile, AICF had also announced that it would sponsor the world title challenger to the tune of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore.

With Gukesh becoming the challenger for the world title, AICF should take the branding aspect at least this time around.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at ...)



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