Lucknow, Aug 21 (IANS) The All-India Chess Federation (AICF) has ended a chapter in its saga of infighting as it merged with the breakaway Chess Association of India to form a single entity to administer the sport in the country.
The recently elected president of AICF, Dr Sanjay Kapoor, announced this at a joint press conference here on Saturday, revealing that the warring factions have now come together not just at the national level but also in various states.
“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 in a press release on Saturday.
“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.
Indian chess has been besieged by infighting for years, with a number of powerful cabals sticking to their own agendas to the detriment of chess. While two sections have come together, there is still one major group not aligned. Led by former president P.R.Venketrama Raja and including former treasurer Ravindra Dongre as well as FIDE representative D.V. Sundar, it had lost in the elections.
“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,” said Bharat Singh Chauhan, AICF secretary.
Senior vice-president of Chess Association of India S.L. Harsh, and Secretary General S.K. Tewari were present at the press conference to signal the burial of the hatchet.
The AICF, 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,” said Dr Kapoor.
“That hasn’t stopped us from tying up with the Kalinga University in Bhubaneswar 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.