The initial list of trainees and grantees of the WACA Fellowship are: 15-year old R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin (16), Raunak Sadhwani (15), D Gukesh (14) and Praggnanandhaa’s sister R Vaishali (19).
As part of the partnership, deserving candidates will be identified every year and provided help to break into the top world chess ranking. They will be granted fellowships.
Talking about the initiative, Anand said, “Chess has made a lot of progress in the last 20 years. Many players in the country have the potential, under the right guidance, to make it to the top ten and even become World Champions.”
Given the current Covid-19 situation, the mentorship activities will be conducted virtually for now.
Anand believes that the current situation works well and provides an ideal opportunity for the candidates to recognise, focus, and work on their areas of deficiency which will in turn set them up well to achieve the long-term goals.
“It is true that while caught in the world of tournaments and competitions, one tends to work on short fixes, rather than work on resolving the issue in a broader long-term context,” Anand was quoted as saying in a release.
WestBridge Capital co-founder and managing director Sandeep Singhal said, “we are thrilled to partner with the chess legend himself, the man who carved a name for India in the global chess circuit. With the WestBridge-Anand Chess Academy, we are taking a step with a vision to make India prominently visible in global chess circuits.”
Some trainers identified to help out the maestro include German GM Artur Jussupow, Polish GM Grzegorz Gajewski and Indian GM Sandipan Chanda.