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The contribution of the Government towards Indian chess

by Sagar Shah - 12/08/2019

Sports like cricket, which is now well established, has no shortage of funds. Primarily because the corporates find it lucrative to invest in it. But for chess, which is a growing sport in India, the big corporate houses are still making up their mind whether it is a wise decision to invest in the sport or not. Well, we at ChessBase India and all the top authorities in the world including Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand and others believe that India will dominate the chess world in the years to come. And this sentiment is echoed by the Government of India as well. So, while the corportates still make up their mind, the Government of India has increased its grant from 4 crore to 5.5 crore towards Indian chess and these funds are being utilized for the development of our youngsters and top players. At the recently concluded Abu Dhabi Masters, which was an exposure trip funded by the Government of India for 37 of our players - four were able to make their norms. In this article you get to know how Government of India and AICF are working in close sync to speed up the growth of Indian chess.

India had a huge contingent at the Abu Dhabi Masters 2019. 76 out of the 151 participants were Indians. A part of the reason was also because this tournament was chosen as an exposure trip by AICF. An exposure trip is a tournament offered for free for the top finishers of National Championships, National Juniors and National Sub Juniors, the expenses of which are funded by the Government of India. For the Abu Dhabi event, 12 players from National (senior) championships ( 6 male and 6 female) were chosen.

Players from National Championships 2018. Only Bhakti Kulkarni was unable to make it from this list.

10 sub juniors (5 boys + 5 girls) and 12 juniors (6 boys + 6 girls) and 4 coaches. Karthik Venkatraman as a player and Aarthie Ramaswamy as a coach could not make it.

The Government of India sanctioned the trip of 40 Indians. In all 37 travelled to Abu Dhabi with full sponsorship from the Government of India.

Nandhidhaa P.V., one of the members of the squad, managed to achieve her final WGM norm and become a WGM! | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Mahalakshmi M. not only finished as the best woman player of the tournament, she also made an IM norm | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nitish Belurkar achieved his IM norm | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aronyak Ghosh achieved his maiden IM norm | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Three IM norms and one WGM norm is a great result from a single event. And this is not a co-incidence. The players who are selected have fought at the Nationals (seniors, sub juniors and juniors) and all these events are extremely strong. Only the best of Indian chess are able to finish at the top. Naturally when they go to international events, they perform well. Earlier in the year the players were also given another exposure event - the Aeroflot Open. It goes without saying that these exposure trips are helping Indian chess players to flourish and at the same time increases the importance of our national championships. A big thanks to the Government of India for sponsoring these tournaments.

Training camps for Juniors and Sub Juniors

Top 24 juniors (12 in boys and 12 in girls) and top 24 sub juniors (12 in boys and 12 in girls) are going to be exposed to world class chess training to ensure that they improve and become stronger chess players. To this effect coaches like Jacob Aagaard, R.B. Ramesh, Pravin Thipsay. Dejan Bojkov and Vishal Sareen have been roped in for this job. There will also be camps by Farrukh Amonatov assisted by Swapnil Dhopade for national senior women players. The criteria for Amonatov + Dhopade camps is top six female players in the nationals and remaining top six as per July rating list.

 

All of the above camps are sponsored by the Government of India. Apart from them, the other initiatives which are sponsored by the Government of India are:

1. Chess camps of sub juniors and juniors (mentioned above)

2. Expenses of participation in World Team Championships

3. Expenses of participation in World Youth, World Cadets, and World Juniors

4. Expenses of participation in Asian Youth and Asian Juniors

5. Expenses of participation in Asian Teams and Olympiad

6. From this year onwards participants of the World Cup 2019 will also be sponsored

7. Two exposure trips each year - Aeroflot Open and Abu Dhabi Masters for nearly 35 players.

 

Apart from the above, AICF through its own funds have budgeted Rs.25 lakhs for four training camps by an International GM trainer for top 15 juniors of Indian chess, which is a part of Vision 2020. Know more about the vision of AICF, through its vision 2020 document. AICF has earmarked Rs.2.5 crore for all its plans proposed under Vision 2020.

The entire world is sure that India will be the powerhouse of chess in the years to come. A major role for making this happen is being played by the Government of India. We thank them for their support.

Government support cannot be utilized in the most effective way without a strong Federation. Compliments to AICF for making use of these funds in an appropriate and useful manner.