Chess Houseboat 2024 will take place this November in Kerala

by Venkatachalam Saravanan
5/1/2024 – The colorful Chess Houseboat 2024 tournament will take place from 23rd to 30th November 2024. It is once again scheduled to take place at God's own country, the state of Kerala. . The new attractions this year are the three different places of stay: at the floating houseboat itself in the Vembanadu lake, a beachfront resort at Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, and a majestic Dutch fort at Cochin. Apart from the usual Rapid tournament, this time there will also be a Blitz tournament. If all these pique your interest, you must register before 1st June to get early bird discount. Check out all details of the entire event and itinerary, written by IM V Saravanan. Photo: Orient Chess Moves

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This November, play chess inside a Houseboat!

The highly colourful Chess Houseboat tournament is once again scheduled to be held at the tourist-friendly ‘God’s own country’, the state of Kerala, India from November 23 - 30, 2024. The new attractions this year are the three different places of stay: at the floating houseboat itself in the Vembanadu lake, a beachfront resort at Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, and a majestic Dutch fort at Cochin. The participants will also have the pleasure of travelling by the new-age Indian luxury train, the ‘Vande Bharat’ express (‘Praise India’ express) on their journey to Trivandrum and back to Cochin.

Chess Houseboat logo

The chess houseboat is aimed at showcasing the natural beauty of the state, its rich cultural heritage and the traditional cuisine, and is once again supported by the Kerala Tourism, the official department of the state government.

Kerala Tourism and KTDC logos

In its new avatar this year, the event will be held for eight days, thus extended by a day compared to its previous editions. There will be an event with a Rapid time control of 20 minutes + 5 seconds per game, carrying a total prize fund of 2300 Euros with a first prize of 500 Euros, and a Blitz event with a time control of 3 minutes + 2 seconds per game with trophies as prizes. Both will be unrated events with a total of eight rounds, and follow Swiss system rules.

The first two rounds of the rapid event will be played at a floating houseboat in the Vembanadu Lake, the main attraction of the event. Just like the previous editions, the participants will be enthralled by the sights and sounds of the beautiful ambience of the houseboat, as it takes the participants around the vast expanse of the waterscape deep inside the state of Kerala, along the town of Alappuzha.

A floating houseboat at the Vembanadu backwaters, the tournament venue for the first two days | Photo: Orient Chess Moves

The tournament hall | Photo: Orient Chess Moves

The drawing room of the luxury Chess Houseboat

A bedroom in the Chess Houseboat

From Alappuzha, the participants will be taken to Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, by the premier Vande Bharat trains which have become the norm for luxury travel on wheels of the country in the last few years. The journey covers a distance of 182 kilometres in just about 2.25 hours, in luxurious settings.

A Vande Bharat Train of Kerala

The interiors of the Vande Bharat Train

The remaining six rounds of the tournament will take place at KTDC Samudra, the luxury beach resort set on the beautiful beach of Kovalam on the outskirts of Trivandrum city, a popular destination for holidaymakers.

All the rooms of the KTDC Samudra resort have a view of the ocean and the beach

A view of the beach resort

The final part of the event moves to the city of Cochin once again, as the participants will get to stay at the luxurious Bolgatty Palace, built by the Dutch in the 18th century and has been converted into a heritage hotel resort. The blitz event and the prize distribution ceremony will be held here.

The majestic Bolgatty Palace resort

The interiors of the Bolgatty Palace

The event is not about visiting some of the beautiful sights of Kerala, but also about tasting its rich heritage and culture, as the organizers arrange showcase traditional art forms of the state during relaxed evenings.

A performance of the ‘Bharatanatyam’ dance

‘Kalaripayattu’ is a rich ancient martial art form of Kerala

Kerala has its own great cuisine, which was a great hit during the previous editions of the houseboat events, and it promises to be its own attraction during the event.

Participants of the 2023 event enjoying the lunch offered at the houseboat itself

Pavel Matocha, the organiser of the Chess Train event of Europe and one of the inspirations of the Houseboat event, enjoying the taste of Kerala food along with his family

The all-inclusive packages for playing the entire event, are pegged at 1200 Euros for each participant, with different discounts and subsidised rates for accompanying persons, participants above 60 years, women participants, and juniors who confirm their entries before June 1, 2024.

Participants of the 2023 event

Itinerary of the event

23 November

Reception at Kochi Airport

Transportation to Houseboat

Stay at Houseboat in Vembanad Lake with dinner

24 November

Stay in Houseboat with breakfast, lunch, tea, snacks, and dinner

Rounds 1 & 2 in the floating Houseboat

Houseboat cruise

Cultural Performance in the evening

25 November

Breakfast at Houseboat, and checkout

Board Vande Bharat express at Cochin 12.40

Reach Trivandrum at 3.05 PM.

Transport to Kovalam KTDC Samudra, and Dinner



Breakfast, Lunchy and dinner and stay at Samudra

Inauguration Ceremony

Rounds 3 - 4 at Samudra

Cultural performance in the evening

27 November

Breakfast, Lunch and dinner and stay at Samudra

Rounds 5 - 6 at Samudra

Cultural performance in the evening



Blitz Tournament at Samudra


Board Vande Bharat Express at 4.05 pm

Arrival at Cochin at 6.35 PM

Transfer to Bolghatty Palace Hotel and Dinner

29 November

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner and stay at Bolgatty Palace

Rounds 7-8 and Prize Distribution ceremony at Bolgatty Palace





The complete package for the tournaments

Package cost

All-inclusive package

1200 Euros

Discounts (if paid before 1 June)


1050 Euros

For previous participants of Chess Houseboat

1000 Euros

For accompanying persons

1000 Euros

For participants above 60 years

1000 Euros

For juniors below 15 years

1000 Euros

For women participants

1000 Euros

Package includes:

• Airport pick up and drop off

• Rapid & Blitz Chess tournaments entry fees

• Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Tea, Snacks & unlimited drinking water from 23/11 evening to 30/11 morning

• Accommodation from 23/11 evening to 30/11 morning

• Houseboat cruises & transportation, Tourism tickets & Cultural performances

Rapid Tournament prizes


500 euros + Trophy

Best Woman

150 euros+ Trophy


400 euros + Trophy

Best Veteran+60

150 euros+ Trophy


300 euros + Trophy

Best Veteran+65

150 euros+ Trophy


200 euros + Trophy

Best Unrated

150 euros+ Trophy


150 euros + Trophy

Best Indian

150 euros+ Trophy

VI – X Trophies + Prizes in kind

Blitz tournament prizes

I - VI

Trophy + Prize in kind

Best Woman

Trophy + Prize in kind

Best Veteran +60

Trophy + Prize in kind

Best Junior

Trophy + Prize in kind

Further details of the tournament can be had from:

The contact details: 

Prof. N R Anilkumar

Whatsapp +919446230888/ +918281263524


Official site

Saravanan is an IM from Chennai, the southern-most state of Tamil Nadu, India. He has been an active chess player in the Indian circuit, turning complete chess professional in 2012, actively playing and being a second to strong Indian players. He has been consistently writing on chess since late 1980s and is a correspondent to national newspapers and news channels.
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