As many as 20,000 people and 1,200 masters will gather at the ground in the afternoon for a game of chess. In the process, they will break Mexico's Guinness world record of the largest number of people playing the game together at the same time. El Zocalo, Mexico City's central square, had set the record when 13,446 players had assembled to play chess on October 21, 2006. Former world champion Anatoly Karpov was the guest of honour in Mexico while Ahmedabad will have current world champion Viswanathan Anand.
After his first world championship title in 2000, Anand had nurtured a desire to make India the epicentre of chess. And, for the past 10 years, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was looking for a way to bring the game into the collective consciousness of Gujaratis. The record-breaking event is the coming together of these two aspirations with the Gujarat State Chess Association, NIIT and the Gujarat government working for it for 10 months. A lady adjudicator from Guinness Book arrived in the city from London on Thursday. "We can't divulge the name of the adjudicator now but yes, she will ensure that everything is in place for the record," said one of the organisers.
Friday will see 1,000 masters play simultaneously against 20,000 participants. Each master will take on 20 players. Another 200 masters will be on stand by. The ground has been divided into 64 squares with 320 participants in one square. "We have never attempted anything on this scale, which makes it unique and will be a very important feat both for Gujarat and India," Anand had said in an interview to TOI in the build-up to the event. "This is only the beginning of a chess revolution," he had said.