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The Big Chess Inter School Tournament in Mumbai starts from 24th May

by Priyanka Ved - 13/05/2024

Chess Tournaments in Schools are of the one of most important things to grow the chess scene in any place. Keeping this in mind, we are launching the Big Chess Inter School Tournament in Mumbai from 24th-26th May 2024! School students from all over the Mumbai district, of different age categories, will take part in this 3-day swiss tournament with a semi-classical time format. There are attractive prizes up for grabs, and a huge bonus for the top 2 finishers of each age category - they get to play a simultaneous exhibition against the Grand Swiss 2023 Champion, Candidates 2024 player, and one of India's best Grandmasters - Vidit Gujrathi!

8School Chess Tournaments in Mumbai are back!

The early 90’s and the 2000 was an era, many remembered as the golden period of Mumbai Chess! What was so special about it, you may ask? The answer to that question was a series of Inter-school chess tournaments that were held in Mumbai during the long-term school vacations and one could easily amass more than 2500 students participating in different age categories starting from U-8 and going up to Open category (10th Grade). At the time, Chess scene in Mumbai was blooming and it went beyond the borders of Mumbai to districts like Thane and Raigad. Right from the strongest chess playing kids in the city to the players who did not even know to move the pieces but just were inquisitive about chess, would come to play in.

A photo from the Mumbai Inter School tournaments back in the day - how many people can you identify here?

Young talents were found in abundance in these tournaments which resulted into Mumbai having more than innumerable FIDE rated players in a span of just a few years. Such was the impact created by these Inter-school chess tournaments that Mumbai churned out some very strong chess players like Aditya Udeshi, Prasanna Rao, Sagar Shah - all of them went on to become International Masters (IMs).

From left - Aditya Udeshi, Prasanna Rao, and Sagar Shah.

To give you an illustration: Every year, during Diwali breaks, an inter-school chess tournament, popularly known as “The Bournvita Inter-school Chess Tournament came to be held by Mr. Vinay Shetty. What made the Bournvita tournament so special for Mumbai kids? How was it a different experience from various other tournaments that were held across the country.


Well, firstly, it followed a semi-classical time control for the event that gave the kids enough time to put on their thinking hat and work towards achieving their desired result. Secondly, the event was evenly spread out for 10 days, thoughtfully categorized in a way that enabled the kids to participate in 2 age-categories – one in their own age group where they had fair chance to compete and bag the 1st prize and the other category could be a higher age category which would give them a chance to play and beat far more seasoned players and get to play for all the 10 days! This feature played a major contributor in the success stories of Mumbai Chess players.

The man behind the Bournvita Chess Tournaments - Vinay Shetty

The playing strength of any chess player who has ever participated in the Bournvita Chess Tournament was way more than any regular chess player.  Thirdly, there was absolutely no prize fund. But, then when did kids ever need money to motivate them to play chess! The children would get caps of Bournvita which they would proudly wear to the tournament; and of course, the Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates would be distributed. The tournament would be conducted so tastefully that it would be a real bonanza for the children. And not to forget, elite sports personalities would be called to give away the prizes. The trophies would be in the shape of the king, so exquisitely made. And winners would get goody bags and at the same time coaching from some elite IM or GM of India.

One of India's best hockey players, Dhanraj Pillai in the prize distribution ceremony of the Bournvita Inter-school tournaments!

There was enough motivation for the kids. Can you take a wild guess on the entry-fee for an event such as this? The Entry-Fee for Bournvita Tournament was a meagre Rs. 50. Quite unbelievable, you might think. Yes. It is! Quite unbelievable indeed! It was a magnificent gesture by Mr. Vinay Shetty and his team of Sponsors, the benefits of which not only reached the poor and rich in equal measure but it upheld the spirit of the city and the sport alike!

The Big Chess Inter-School Tournament 2024

Cut to present day, there are many Open chess tournaments organized in various parts of the city where age-category prizes are distributed. Also, many one-day age-category tournaments having Rapid Time Controls are organized. But something is lacking. And it is this missing element that we are trying to fill here with this inter-school tournament. It is undeniable that the Inter-school tournaments lay a very strong foundation for the kids to grow and learn; not only by competing with kids of similar ages but also by playing for longer duration with the assistance of semi-classical time controls.

Bearing this idea in mind, ChessBase India presents, for the very first time: The Big Chess Inter-school Tournament!

The official logo for the Big Chess Inter-School Tournament!

As you may have already known, ChessBase India is gearing up for its 3rd edition of Big Chess Camp 2024 kick-starting from 13th May to 19th May, 2024! What could have been a better timing for being able to put together an inter-school chess tournament to express our gratitude for everything we experienced in our times! Our dream of bringing back the good old days is coming back to life.


The Big Chess Inter-school tournament will be marked as a 3-day event starting from the 24th of May to 26th of May, for all the age-groups starting from U-06, U-08, U-10, U-12, U-14 and Open (upto 10th Grade). Boys and Girls will play together! It will be a semi-classical tournament having time controls of 30 mins + 15 sec increment starting from move one.

Register for the tournament now

Tournament Venue

The tournament will take place in Atrium 5, in the Phoenix Marketcity Mall in Kurla, Mumbai. It is the same location where the weekly ChessBase India Chess Club sessions are held, and the venue for the Big Chess Summer Camp 2024!

A view of the venue - this photo was clicked during the Big Chess Winter Camp 2024!

Scenes at the monthly ChessBase India Chess club tournaments!

Tournament schedule

This will be a 7-round tournament. There will be 2 rounds of play on the first day, 3 rounds of play on the 2nd day, and finishing with 2 rounds on the final day. On the final day, there is also a huge event planned after the games end - a simultaneous exhibition with one of India's best players, Candidates 2024 player, 2700+ Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi! Here's the full tournament schedule:

May 24th - Day 1:-

Reporting time: 11:30 am

Round 1 - 12:00 pm to 2 pm 

Lunch break - 2 pm to 2:45 pm

Round 2 - 3 pm to 5 pm

May 25th - Day 2:-

Round 3 - 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Lunch break - 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm

Round 4 - 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Round 5 - 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

May 26th - Day 3:-

Round 6 - 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Lunch - 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm

Round 7 - 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Simul with Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi - 5:30 pm -7 pm

Prize distribution ceremony - 7 pm


Prizes for the winners

1. The Top 3 finishers in each category shall be awarded with trophies, and the players finishing 4th and 5th shall be awarded medals.

2. There are medals for girls securing the 1st and the 2nd place in their respective categories.

3. The Champion of each category shall be awarded sponsorship for direct entry in the National Schools Chess Championships.

The playing hall in the National Schools Chess Tournament 2024. The winners will get their entry fee sponsored for this very strong tournament!

The simul with Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi will be supporting this tournament in his own way - he will be giving a simul against the best players of this tournament!

Apart from the beautiful trophies, the top 2 finishers of each age category in the Big Chess Tournament get a chance to participate in the simul event against our very own Super-GM Vidit Gujrathi. This event is jointly organized by ChessBase India and Wildr! This is quite easily the biggest benefit of taking part in this tournament. If you manage to make it to the top two spots, you get to play a game of chess against a 2700+ Grandmaster who has been the India no.1 player, just played in the Candidates Tournament 2024, and is an amazing human being! It is worth mentioning that Vidit is a Mumbaikar now - he recently moved in to Mumbai from his hometown Nashik. 

Vidit giving a simultaneous exhibition at the Ambit house, Mumbai last year!

Vidit is a brand ambassador of Wildr and Wildr is a partner of the event and also the simul!

Eligibility Criteria

There are certain cut-off dates for your date of birth if you want to participate in the tournament age categories. It's important to note that the player must be a school student! Here are the stipulations you need to keep in mind before applying:

Born on or after:

U-6 - Date of Birth: 01 Jan 2018

U-8 - Date of Birth: 01 Jan 2016

U-10 - Date of Birth: 01 Jan 2014

U-12 - Date of Birth: 01 Jan 2012

U-14 - Date of Birth: 01 Jan 2010

Open (Studies in class 10th, should be a school student) - Date of Birth: 01 Jan 2008

Entry fee

We have a nominal entry fee for this tournament - Rs. 100! Make sure to register fast though, as we are accepting only 50 players on each of the section! Once 50 players are filled in each section, we will close the entry form.

Tournament rules and regulations:

1) Tournament will be played on Swiss League basis as per the FIDE (World Chess Body) guidelines.

2) Children belonging to a lower age group e.g. U/06 can participate in the competition for the higher category e.g. U/08

3) The decision of the Arbiters will be final and binding to all.

7) All participants will get a certificate of participation.

8) Organizers reserve the right to change, if any.

9) Age group calculation is based on 1st January 2024.

10) Draws will be put up at the Venue on the day of the Tournament.

11) Entry Fees should paid on the online mode. Use this link to make the payment of Rs. 100 entry fee. Payment link is also given in the google form.

17) Fee once paid will not be refunded.

18) Prize Distribution: Winners will be awarded with their Prizes and Certificates on the same day in the Venue after the events get over, at 7 PM IST on 26th May.

19) Fully Air Conditioned Tournament Hall for participants.

What are you waiting for? Register for the Big Inter School Chess Tournament

This article is edited by Himank Ghosh

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