Ending years of feud; AICF and Chess Association of India announce merger

PTIUpdated: Saturday, August 21, 2021, 11:30 PM IST
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Lucknow: Putting an end to internal fighting, the All-India Chess Federation and the breakaway Chess Association of India on Saturday announced that they have merged into one single entity to administer the sport in the country.

Players and administrators welcomed the move and said it would pave way for the development of the sport.

AICF president Sanjay Kapoor said that the warring factions, not only at the national level but also in various states, have now come together under the umbrella of the federation.

"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," Kapoor was quoted as saying in a press release.

"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.

AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said, "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."

Apart from the wrangling at the national level, chess has suffered a great deal in Uttar Pradesh too, with two different bodies - UP Chess Association and UP 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," Kapoor said.

UP Chess Association president P C Chaturvedi (IAS Retd), Sr Vice President of Chess Association of India S L Harsh, and Secretary General of Chess Association of India and Secretary, UP Chess Association SK Tewari were all present at the press conference.

Chess Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte welcomed the move and hoped that all parties will work together for the development of the game.

"It's a good thing that the 16-year old dispute has ended. AICF was facing around 100-odd cases in the last few years, hopefully the number will come down. And all parties will put in the efforts for the development of chess. The sports fraternity is facing a challenging situation," said Kunte.

A few other players also welcomed the move and said it bodes well for the future of chess in India.

Meanwhile, a veteran administrator said the AICF and Chess Association of India merger was good for the sport and hoped it would pave the way for greater development in the country.

"It is a good thing. Whenever a breakaway group returns to the parent body, it is welcome. It bodes well for the sport and results in expectations that chess will grow further in India," he added.

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