Chess may have remained a little behind other sports in launching a national franchise-based league, but the five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand is positive that an initiative such as the Maharashtra Chess League (MCL), which is in its fourth edition, could become a nucleus for chess in India. Anand was speaking after the auction for the 4th edition of MCL was completed at the Amanora Park Town Club house here on Saturday. Aniruddha Deshpande, Chairman, Organising Committee, MCL was also present on this occasion.
“The format of the league is very inclusive and I am sure the MCL will keep growing year by year,” said Anand, during an interaction soon after the auction.
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“There are a lot more players who have taken to chess as a sport. Clearly, if there are a lot more initiatives such as the MCL there will be more talent coming up. We need to keep the growing chess players engaged,” said Anand.
Asked whether it was time for franchise-based national league for chess to start, Anand said that in fact MCL could become a nucleus of the new set up.
“I am happy to be here for the fourth edition of MCL auction. The league has given very good and excellent opportunities to youngsters and also the format is nice,” he said.
When questioned about his retirement plans, the ace chess player stated, “This question has been asked many times. I have discovered that I can’t give either answer. I don’t see any reason why I should think about retirement now. My plan is to first look at tournaments and participate in grand chess tour that will take me to Brussels, St. Louis, London and other big cities,” he said, adding that he would definitely like to qualify for the next Candidates Chess which is roughly scheduled in March 2018. “However, I will start only next year when the rating clock starts,” Anand said, further adding that he has no plans of playing in the Chess Olympiad. “It’s been done and dusted. I have had my share of playing Olympiads,” said Anand.