Short Note : Challenges before Chess in India

Published: July 12, 2019

While the world chess federation (FIDE) has restored the international ratings of 54 players, no end seems in sight to the long-standing impasse between the suffering chess players and the All India Chess Federation (AICF).

What has happened?

  • AICF had penalized a few chess players for the violation of its constitution in 2010. It alleged that the chess players were not permitted to participate in tournaments not authorized by AICF.
  • Then, between October 28, 2010, and April 9, 2011, the AICF had sent three lists of names totaling 120 players to the FIDE and sought deletion of their international rating. The FIDE then deleted the ratings of these players. In the recent past, a number of players returned to the AICF fold following its directive of submitting the prize-money won by them in those tournaments. A few others have tendered a letter of apology to the AICF. For these players, AICF wrote to FIDE to restore their ratings.
  • The FIDE also restored the rankings of the defiant players. This change of heart in FIDE came due to the efforts of British Grandmaster and its vice president Nigel Short who understood the matter and backed the Indian players.

What do the players say?

The players deny the accusations claiming that the said constitution was amended on June 8, 2011 following which the said clause was included in the constitution. They thus claim that they have not violated any of AICF rules, in force in 2010.

Why this is important?

India is a major power in chess and this crisis has shaken the credibility of the Indian sporting scenario. This issue needs to be resolved in the earnest to ensure that the players who bring so many laurels to the country do not suffer.

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