If India is ranked fourth in the world chess, produced a world champion, couple of world junior champions, is home to two women players ranked second and ninth in the world, a boy and a girl ranked tenth and eighth in the world, it is not due to the system, but despite the system, fume chess players across the country.
The chess players have outpoured their pent-up frustration, anger after Grandmaster (GM) R B Ramesh tweeted the neglect of chess players and coaches by the central government for Arjuna and Dronacharya awards.
Chess players also felt the All India Chess Federation (AICF) should have argued the chess players and coaches' case with the government.
"Indians understand cricket. Chess is played by about 190 countries at the top level unlike cricket that is played by nine countries. Simply put, getting an Elo rating of 2,700 points in chess is akin to be among the top 25 cricketers in the world," said International Master (IM) and chess coach Vishal Sareen.
When asked about players' feeling that AICF should have pushed their case with the government, AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan declined to comment.
But more shocking was the mocking comment by an AICF official at two young GMs with several achievements under their belt while filling up the form for Arjuna awards a couple of years ago.
"We had gone to the AICF office to fill up the form. A senior official mockingly asked us -- on what basis are you applying for the Arjuna award?" GM B. Adhiban recalled that incident while declining to reveal the official's name.
Some of Adhiban's achievements are: Olympiad (Historic Bronze) 2014, Asian Games (Bronze) 2010, World Teams (Bronze) 2010. World Teams (Gold) 2019, Asian Championship (Silver) 2014, Commonwealth U-20 Gold 2012.
"I have lost count as to the number of times I have sent my applications for Arjuna award. Last year a police official had come to my residence for verification and after that nothing happened," Adhiban said.
This year too, Adhiban ranked 82nd in the world with a rating of 2,659 has applied for the elusive award.