Indian chess great Viswanathan Anand is set to launch an academy with WestBridge Capital, through which the five-time world champion will train youngsters.

The academy, named WestBridge-Anand Chess Academy, has taken on board five of the country’s most promising players to start.

The initial list of trainees are R Praggnanandhaa (15), 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 WACA 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 coronavirus 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.

With PTI Inputs