Chennai, Oct 19 | Even as the All India Chess Federation (AICF) professes to catch chess talent in schools, an 11-year schoolboy has been barred from playing in a tournament midway by an official of the Tirunelveli District Chess Development Association (TDCDA), raising a storm in the sports community.
Messages on WhatsApp is flowing thick and fast condemning the action against the school boy. Several people associated with various chess associations have expressed surprise at the TDCDA move.
“I had paid the necessary entry fees and left my son Karthik Rahul at the tournament venue. I came to know that when he was playing in the first round, B. Paulkumar, TDCDA General Secretary, barred him on the grounds that he had played in a tournament that was not recognised by the AICF/Tamil Nadu Chess Association and the District Association,” K. Murugesh Babu told IANS over phone from the Tirunelveli district.
According to Babu, the official asked his son to write an apology letter for playing in an unrecognised tournament and also give an undertaking that he will not play in such tournaments in the future.
“I felt sad when the official asked me to exit. I will continue to play regardless of this episode,” Rahul told IANS. The episode didn’t have any psychological impact, he added.
The one-day state level chess tournament for under-10/13/15 boys and girls was organised at Sadakathullah Appa College in Tirunelveli under the aegis of TDCDA.
Paulkumar’s action goes against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the AICF norms. Despite several attempts by IANS, Paulkumar couldn’t be reached for comment.
Another official associated with the tournament said the boy was not allowed to play as he had played in a tournament not recognised by the district chess association, contravening its rule.
When contacted Stephen Balasamy P, Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Chess Association (TNSCA), told IANS, “There is no differentiation between recognised and unrecognised tournaments. Players are free to take part in any chess tournament.”
“The AICF’s stand on not penalising a player for playing in tournaments not recognised by it or its affiliated units is nothing but farce,” said a chess player.
On July 12, 2018, the CCI held that the undertaking prescribed by the AICF for players regarding non-participation in events not authorised by it amounted to restraints that were in the nature of exclusive distribution and refusal to deal as defined in Section 3(f) and 3(4)d) of the Competition Act 2002.
The CCI said the non-compliance of such undertaking will result in banning of players and removal of their Elo rating, create entry barriers, foreclose competition and restrict opportunities available to players.
Speaking to IANS earlier, global chess body FIDE’s Vice-President and Grand Master Nigel Short had said if players were banned for playing and several state federations were de-recognised by the AICF then warning bells toll about something being amiss.
“A small boy can’t be removed from the tournament midway. He was allowed to play in the first round. It’s the decision of the boy’s parent or his coach to field him in a tourney. He can’t be held responsible for that,” K.R. Seshadri, International Chess Arbiter told IANS.