Lucknow, Aug 21 (UNI) After years of internal fighting, the All-India Chess Federation and the breakaway Chess Association of India have merged into one single entity to administer the sport as a unified force in the country.
The recently elected president of AICF, Dr Sanjay Kapoor, announced this at a joint press conference here on Friday, revealing that all the warring factions, and not just at the national level but also in various states, have now come together under the umbrella of the AICF.
“I have personally had several rounds of talks with all the stakeholders and have brought everybody on the same platform for the development of chess and all the chess players in the country,” Dr Kapoor said.
“Like other federations, we too are struggling to organise our annual events and championships due to the Covid pandemic and could not afford to let our internal differences derail the sport even more,” he added.
As is well known, Indian chess has been wracked by infighting for years, with a number of powerful cabals sticking to their own agendas to the detriment of chess. “Once we formed the new body, one of our first goals was to address all the concerns of every member and bring everybody together for the sake of the sport,” Bharat Singh Chauhan, AICF secretary, said.
Apart from the wrangling at the national level, chess has suffered a great deal in Uttar Pradesh too, with two different bodies – U P Chess Association and U P Chess Sports Association – at loggerheads in the state. “This has been a long-running feud and as I myself am from Kanpur, I believed it was my duty to resolve this problem on a priority. Today, I am happy to announce that both the groups are here,” Dr Kapoor added.
UP Chess Association president Shri P C Chaturvedi (IAS Retd), Sr Vice President of Chess Association of India Shri S L Harsh, and Secretary General of Chess Association of India and Secretary UP Chess Association Shri SK Tewari were all present at the press conference to signal the burial of the hatchet.
On the occasion, Dr Kapoor and Mr Chauhan also launched the Avijai Chess Academy for players.
The All-India Chess Federation, under its new set of office-bearers, had announced a number of plans and initiatives to revitalise chess in the country. But the pandemic hit the world immediately after they came to power, offsetting their plans.
“We are eager to launch at least some of our key initiatives at the earliest and are waiting for the conditions in the country to improve to get cracking,” Dr Kapoor said. “That hasn’t stopped us from tying up with the Kalinga University in Bhubaneshwar to set up India’s first state of the art academy for chess. It is part of our nationwide Chess in Schools programme that we are keen on implementing soon,” he added.