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Bhubaneswar, Jan. 25: Nine Grand Masters and 24 International Masters from across the world will be converging at the campus of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) here to take part in the 1st SOA International Grand Masters Chess Festival which will begin on January 28, the organizers said on Thursday.
The tournament, which will have a total prize money of Rs. 35 lakh, is being organised by the All Odisha Chess Association (AOCA) with SOA’s support. The International Chess Federation (ICF), All India Chess Federation (AICF), Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Odisha government are backing the event, Mr. Gobinda Chandra Mohapatra, President of AOCA, told a news conference.
SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda said it was for the first time that the university was organizing an international sports event. “Our efforts are aimed at making SOA a chess hub,” he said.
Around 800 chess players from at least 14 different countries are expected to take part in the 8-day tournament, Mr. 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.
Some of the finest chess minds from Denmark, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Belarus, Egypt, Philippines, Russia, Kazhakstan, Zambia, Nepal and hosts India will be taking part in the tournament, he said.
Mr. 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 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 will require a valid FIDE ID for participation, Mr. 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), Mr. Shankar Prasad Mishra, Treasurer, AOCA, Mr. Muktikanta Mohapatra, Foreign Liasioning Officer, AOCA and Mr. Tapas Mohanty, International Deputy Arbiter were present at the news conference.

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