Top Women Grandmasters Koneru Humpy and Hou Yifan bat for more tournaments like the Global Chess League for Women Players -

Top Women Grandmasters Koneru Humpy and Hou Yifan bat for more tournaments like the Global Chess League for Women Players

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Koneru Humpy.

Khel Today Bureau 

Dubai: The Global Chess League, a joint venture between Tech Mahindra and FIDE, is at a crucial juncture, with the SG Alpine Warriors leading the lot at 15 points, closely followed by the Ganges Grandmasters at 12 points and upGrad Mumba Masters giving a close chase at the third spot.

With just 10 matches to go before the all-important final, the excitement rises in the league about who will be competing for the crown of the inaugural Global Chess League. While the league’s unique mixed-team format has drawn many praises from various sections of the chess world, leading women players like Grandmaster (GM) Koneru Humpy from the upGrad Mumba Masters and Grandmaster (GM) Hou Yifan from Ganges Grandmasters feel that it is just the first step towards a more equitable chess ecosystem.

Hou Yifan.

Speaking about the overall state of women’s chess GM Yifan said, “The general situation of women’s chess has evolved dramatically in the past few decades. I remember when I was young, most of the events for women will only be FIDE official events and very few invitational events. Even for some open events, the chances for women players to win it weren’t as good as today.”

She further added, “In the past few years, there are more organisers and sponsors paying attention to women’s chess. There are stronger women players in the open chess tournaments. I hope that there will be a more promising attitude towards women’s chess and I also hope that because of our performance and experience, it will encourage more young girls to get involved with chess.”

On the other hand, GM Humpy discussed India’s case in point and said, “If I take India’s case, I still feel that compared to the boys, the number of women players is quite less. Probably we need to work in the direction to increase the number of women players. Once that happens, probably the talent will come up slowly.”

While suggesting, what needs to be done to improve the scenario, she added, “There needs to be more tournaments for women in India especially for young girls. Once they find the talent, they should pick them up and train them. Training plays an important role in growing the pool of talented players in any sport.”

Chess has seen many changes over the years and increasing financial support from corporates has been a key factor in encouraging more players to take up chess as a full-time profession.

Humpy believes that financial support still stays a key caveat for chess players to compete on the big stage. She said, “I believe in any sport if the financial support is high, more people will get attracted to it. Even when IPL started, we see the amounts going higher every year and I believe it is the same for every sport.”

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