Within 15 days of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) announcing the holding of World cadet and youth chess championship in August, the All India Chess Federation will commence its National age-group online chess championship from June 10 to July 3.
In these days of pandemic, when over-the-board competition is not advisable, these championships will be played online. The rapid format will follow 15 minutes, plus a 10-second increment per move, per player. Events will be held over 11 rounds, in five age-groups ranging from under-10 to under-18, separately for boys and girls. A total of ₹19 lakh will be disbursed as prize-fund.
“This is a major logistical challenge for us,” said AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan as he looked at the prospects of holding competitions involving “anywhere between 2000 to 3000 players.”
“First of all, it was difficult for the players to get into the online module. Secondly, training of arbiters to officiate in this kind of tournament was very challenging. In addition, and very importantly, we had to find ways to eliminate the possibility of cheating in these online events,” said Chauhan.
When FIDE announced the World cadet and youth championships on May 25, many AICF officials felt it was not possible to hold the State championships online, and thereafter the Nationals, to select the Indian team for the World championship. Many even suggested selecting the squad as per the players’ international rating.
“But I was firm that we should find a way to provide competition to our players. After all, for more than a year, players across age-groups are desperate for competitions. So I asked AICF’s core technical team to find a way to hold online events on the same lines as the FIDE. And they have done a fantastic job.”
“Almost 30 affiliates of AICF are currently holding online State championships in these age-groups. Can you imagine close to 15,000 playing online across events? Our team of arbiters across the country need to be congratulated,” acknowledged Chauhan.