Ravichandran Ashwin
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is getting into the chess arena as a co-owner of American Gambhits. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Indian star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is known to be ahead of his time. The 37-year-old, who also runs his YouTube channel and also uses his social media handles to good effect, has made his next move as the co-owner of a franchise in the second edition of the Global Chess League, to be held at the Friends House, located in the heart of central London, from October 3-12.

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The League, a joint venture between Tech Mahindra and FIDE, on Monday unveiled the six franchises, including debutants American Gambits, who are owned by business leaders Prachura PP, Venkat K. Narayana (KVN), and Indian icon and chess enthusiast Ravichandran Ashwin.

Ashwin, a shrewd thinker on the field and plans his moves to outwit the batter, said: “We’re thrilled to introduce the American Gambits to the chess world. With a blend of strategic brilliance and unwavering determination, our team aims to redefine the game. As the co-owner, I’m excited to witness their journey and contribute to their success.”

High-stakes play

The second edition will feature top players from around the world, including reigning world champions and rising stars, competing in a unique team format that emphasises strategy, collaboration, and high-stakes play.

Sameer Pathak, CEO, Global Chess League, said: “Prachura’s deep affection for chess and business acumen, Ashwin’s credentials both as an ace sportsman and chess lover, and KVN’s leadership in business and the film industry are well known. The trio’s franchise ownership is expected to bring fresh perspectives and dynamic growth to the league.”

Double round-robin format

The six franchises competing in the second season includes Alpine SG Pipers, owned by APL Apollo-led SG Sports, Ganges Grandmasters, owned by Insurekot Sports, Mumba Masters, owned by Ronnie Screwvala-led Unilazer Ventures, PBG Alaskan Knights, owned by Punit Balan Group, and the inaugural season champions Triveni Continental Kings, owned by Triveni Engineering & Industries Limited.

In the tournament, each team will play a total of 10 matches in a double round-robin format, with the winner of each match being decided in a best-of-six board scoring system. Each team will play ten matches across black and white pieces. The teams will play five matches, with all six players in each team initially playing with the white or black pieces against their opponents, followed by a reverse round in which the entire team will play five matches with the reversed colour pieces against the same opponent. The top two teams will advance to the final round.