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AICF's new team chalks out positive opening moves

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By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, June 20 (IANS) The All India Chess Federation (AICF) is in discussions with a couple of parties for launching its Professional Chess League, said a senior official.

Breaking away from the past, the AICF has also made several player positive moves like amending its constitution to be in line with the National Sports Development Code, inclusion of players in the decision making process, roping in former World Chess Champion Grand Master V. Anand as an advisor, recognising the Chess Players Forum-a players body, he added.

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“We are in talks with some corporates for holding the Professional Chess League. The format will be such that juniors and sub-juniors will also be there and the number of players per team will be between 6-8 including foreign players. The number of teams for the league is yet to be decided,” Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary, told IANS.

According to Chauhan, the Global Chess League announced by the global chess governing body FIDE and Tech Mahindra Ltd will be a world event and at the most India may have two teams.

The event was decided by the two bodies and AICF was not party to that.

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From being litigious in the past, the AICF now wants to be away from the courts as it is a time consuming and costly affair.

“The time and money (players money) spent on court cases could be usefully utilised for the betterment of the game. Instead of going to the courts, we have decided to opt for arbitration to decide on issues,” Chauhan added.

Referring to the Federation’s habit of filing cases, FIDE Vice President Nigel Short had earlier told IANS: “There is a clear warning bell that something is amiss in AICF. A well governed body will not have so many court cases.”

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Chauhan said the Kerala-based Chess Association of India has decided to merge with AICF.

He also hoped the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association (TNSCA) would also withdraw the cases filed against the AICF.

At the Central Council meeting of the AICF held this February, the TNSCA Secretary P. Stephen Balasamy had said the decision will be taken after consulting President M. Manickam.

“There are no cases filed by TNSCA against AICF that are pending. Some cases were filed during the office bearer’s election. Now that the elections are over and new office bearers have taken charge, the cases are no more there,” Balasamy told IANS.

Be that as it may, Chauhan said he is interested in meeting Manickam and had sought time soon after getting elected.

Queried whether AICF will also withdraw its appeal against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order Chauhan said if the Federation has to be defended it will be done.

However, by disaffiliating the Bengal Chess Association is not the AICF going back to the old ways and resulting in court cases?

“The elections to elect the Bengal Chess Association were not held as per the AICF byelaws,” Chauhan responded.

On amending AICF’s Constitution, Chauhan said it was done so that the rules are in sync with the National Sports Development Code.

Shifting the administrative office to Delhi, the AICF also amended the rules to make Delhi as the legal jurisdiction to file cases against the chess body.

The chess body is also planning to have its own office in Delhi.

Refuting that AICF has concentrated the financial powers with itself Chauhan said: “Earlier players had to pay the district, state and national associations separately and the outgo will be higher. Now a player has to pay only Rs.250 to AICF which in turn will pay half of that to the state associations. The state associations in turn will pay the affiliated district associations.”

On the players front, the chess body now has six top players to take up issues on behalf of the players.

That apart, several reputed players have been nominated to various committees.

“We are happy at the steps taken by AICF. The amendments to the Constitution asked by us have been done. The new office bearers have started off well,” International Master V. Saravanan, Joint Secretary of the Chess Players Forum, told IANS.

The AICF also agreed to meet with the Chess Players Forum to discuss the matters relating to the players.

One of the ambitious programmes of AICF is the development of Chess in School and nearly 2,000 teachers have been trained.

According to Chauhan, the Federation would approach the Central government for funds as the total estimated budget is about Rs.3.5 crore.

The one view of the players is that AICF has opened well and its gambit should pay dividends.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

–IANS

vj/ksk/

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