The newly formed association of chess players, the Chess Players Forum is hopeful of central government or court action to end the in-fighting between the two groups in All India Chess Federation (AICF). A top AICF official said the Chess Players Forum has written to the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports and the global chess body FIDE and are awaiting their reply.
“We have written to the central government and also to FIDE and are yet to get a reply. Owing to the in-fighting between two groups there are now two AICFs. The problem for the players is that with which body they have to register, pay the fees, who will select the players to represent the nation at international events like the Olympiad,” International Master (IM) Varugeese Koshy, President, Chess Players Forum told IANS.
He conceded that the focus of the Indian government at present will be more on containing the spread of coronavirus, which is much more important. Koshy said there are nearly one lakh players registered with AICF. He said owing to coronavirus spread, the chess tournament calendar will be reworked.
According to Koshy, the government or the court has to decide on the AICF imbroglio or else the status quo would continue putting the game into a limbo. “Online chess tournaments are fine in the case of blitz/speed games but not suitable for normal game as the risk of cheating by the players by the use of chess engines (software that gives out apt moves),” Koshy added.
Koshy said the forum has about 80 members including several IMs, Grandmasters and untitled players. The AICF is split into two factions — one headed by P.R. Venketrama Raja and the other by Bharat Singh Chauhan. Sometime back FIDE had sent a proposal to the two camps for the smooth running of AICF till elections are held.
While Chauhan’s camp had agreed for the proposal, Raja’s camp has declined. According to FIDE, Chauhan and Raja have to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a five-member committee comprising themselves or their nominees, a nominee from the central government and a famous and respected male and female chess player. The general view of the players is that the FIDE proposal is good as it gives the players a say in running the daily affairs of AICF.