Chess on an Indian barge

Inaugural barge tournament

A unique event is planned in South India from January 26e to February 2sd, 2020: a chess tournament on a floating barge in Kerala’s famous Vembanad Lake! Nicknamed “God’s own country”, the state of Kerala in southern India is a magnificent stretch of land at the southwestern tip of the peninsula. With long stretches of beaches, verdant coconut groves and rice fields, rolling hills, valleys and backwaters, by far India’s most sought-after tourist destination. As they say in India, it is the only state in the country with all types of tourist destinations one can imagine – beaches, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, hill stations, palaces, historical monuments, architectural wonders, collections of art, famous temples, adventure sports, music and dance festivals and medical tourism.

For the first time, an international chess tournament combining chess and tourism is planned in this traveler’s paradise, which will take place at four different sites: two days in a floating barge in the Vembanad, the longest lake in the country, and a day each by Marari beach, 5 star hotel and riverside resort.

It is a unique experience to live in Kerala ‘Houseboats’ – you have a huge boat to yourselves, with all the amenities of a house floating on Vembanad Lake with bedrooms, dining room, kitchen and toilets. The boat is managed by a crew who prepare your food and navigate the boat through breathtaking scenery throughout the day. The air-conditioned float for the ‘Chess Houseboat 2020’ event is identical to the ‘Spice Routes luxury barges’ that hosted the King of the Netherlands during his visit to Kerala a few months ago.

The tournament itself will be a tournament of 10 not rated Switzerland with a time control of 20 minutes plus five seconds per match, spread over six days – two laps per day in the morning in five days with a full day of rest after six laps, apart from the day of arrival and departure. It is run by the ‘Oriental Chess Moves Trust’, an independent chess organization made up of organizers and chess enthusiasts. They are led by NR Anil Kumar, former member of the Indian Olympic chess team and international master of correspondence chess, as well as Joe Parappilly and P Manojkumar, former international players. The seal of authenticity of the event comes in the form of the associated organizers, the Kerala Tourism Department, an official branch of government.

The tournament has a total prize of € 5,000, of which € 2,500 in cash and € 2,500 “in kind” as follows:

  • 1st – 600 €
  • 2nd – 500 €
  • 3rd – 400 €
  • 4th – 300 €
  • 5th – 200 €
  • 6 to 25 – In kind
  • Best under 2100 Elo – € 100
  • Best under 1800 Elo – € 100
  • Best under 1500 Elo – € 100
  • Best unranked player – € 100
  • Player of the Best Lady – 100 €
  • Best Veteran (60+) – € 100

Accommodation for each day has been planned at different locations, with the first three nights scheduled at the ‘Lake Palace Resort’, Alleppey.

The Lake Palace Resort, on the edge of Lake Vembanad

An additional two-night stay will be at the luxurious Crown Plaza Kochi, a 5-star property.

The Crown Plaza Kochi, one of the most beautiful hotels in the beautiful city of Cochin

The last two nights of the stay were planned at the Hyatt Regency, Trichur, another 5 star establishment.

The breathtaking Hyatt Regency Ballroom in Trichur, the cultural capital of Kerala

The games will also offer different atmospheres, offering a variety of playing conditions. The tours of the first two days are planned in floating barges.

Could this be your tournament hall?

On the third day, the games were planned in the famous resort of Marari Beach, in a beautiful location of a long strip of sandy beach surrounded by palm groves.

Thatched-roof houses in the style of the homes of the local fishermen are unique attractions of Marari

While Day 5 matches have been scheduled at the Crowne Plaza Kochi hotel, the final two rounds will take place at another unique location, Rasa Gurukul Heritage Village, a beautiful riverside retreat among coconut groves and palm groves. ‘spices.

A bird’s eye view of Rasa

All over the itinerary are some of the unique Kerala experiences that the organizers offer players. Some of the best tourist attractions in the state are included in the list of places to visit, usually every afternoon and on the day of rest.

Athirapilly waterfalls, an unforgettable experience

Fort Kochi, a nostalgic atmosphere of a bygone era

Fort Kochi’s Historic Chinese Fishing Nets

As Kerala is also a land with a rich heritage, organizers have promised that some of the state’s ancient arts will be staged at the event.

Kathakali show

‘Kathakali’, an ancient art form of Kerala, with richly colored makeup, masks and costumes, which mixes dance, music and drama, with the dramatization of stories from Indian epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Mohiniyattam, a delicate and feminine dance form

Kalaripayattu, an ancient earth battlefield martial art, with unique weapons and fighting techniques

The organizers aim to market the tournament with a full package of entrance fees, accommodation for seven nights, food (excluding alcohol) and light refreshments between matches, tickets for travel, tours, activities and cultural shows, airport transfers and a friendly tournament. The packages have been indexed on:

  • Players: 949 €
  • Accompanying persons: 899 €

Space on the boats being limited, the total number of entries is limited to 100 candidates.

The itinerary with more details about the tournament and the registration process can be found at chesshouseboat.org. The organizers can be contacted at [email protected], [email protected] and +919446230888 (Mobile).

Tournament poster


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Christina A. Kroll

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