By Hritika Sharma
(Reuters) – Reigning world champion Ding Liren and top-ranked Magnus Carlsen will participate in next month’s inaugural franchise-based Global Chess League (GCL), organisers said on Tuesday.
The tournament will run from June 21 to July 2 in Dubai and feature six teams of six players each, including a minimum of two female players and an “icon” player per team.
Carlsen and Ding will join as two of six “icon” players, along with Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand and Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda. The final two names will be confirmed at a later date, organisers said.
“Global Chess League will be a great new event in over-the-board chess that has never been done before,” Carlsen, who has been the world’s top-ranked player for over a decade, said in a statement. “I’m excited to be a part of this unique mixed-team format.”
China’s Ding, 30, became world champion in April, taking the crown from Carlsen, after the 32-year-old Norwegian said last year he would not defend his title.
Dubai also staged the 2021 world championship, when Carlsen won his fifth title.
Russian grandmaster Alexander Grischuk, France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Hou Yifan of China, a four-time women’s world champion, will also participate in the tournament.
Anand, 53, held the world title from 2007-13, when he lost to Carlsen, and was elected as the deputy president of world governing body FIDE last August.
The GCL is a joint venture between FIDE and Indian IT services provider Tech Mahindra.
“My involvement with the GCL predates my becoming deputy president,” Anand told Reuters. “I was in discussions with Mahindra and I was advising them more than a year before that.
“Once I went on to become the FIDE deputy president, it slotted in nicely. One of the things I suggested early on is that they work together with FIDE.”
The six teams will compete in a round-robin format and play 10 matches each, with the top two teams qualifying for the final.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad, editing by Pritha Sarkar)