National online age-group chess: AICF gearing up for logistical challenges

Amid the ongoing pandemic, when over-the-board competition remains unadvisable, these championships will be played online. The rapid format will follow 15 minutes, plus 10-second increment per move, per player.

Chess

Events will be held over 11 rounds, in five age-groups ranging from under-10 to under-18, separately for boys and girls. (REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE)   -  Getty Images

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.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, when over-the-board competition remains unadvisable, these championships will be played online. The rapid format will follow 15 minutes, plus 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 Rs. 19 lakh will be disbursed as prize-fund.

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“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 as he revealed the main concerns before the AICF.

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When the 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 suggested selecting the Indian team 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? For that our team of arbiters across the country need to be congratulated,” acknowledged Chauhan.

A team of 70 arbiters, including a core team of 10, will be ensuring the smooth conduct of the National age-group championships.

The competition will be held on the online platform provided by tornelo.com.

What are the precautions being planned to ensure a cheating-free championship? “Well, there are many norms the players are expected to follow. This includes sharing their computer screen and the view of the player’s room with the arbiter. Importantly, tornelo website also sends a “fairplay report" after every round. This also indicates if a certain player is, or players are, under suspicion. If the act of cheating is established, the guilty player faces a ban up to 15 years from competitive chess. We follow a zero-tolerance approach in such matters,” assured Chauhan.

Age-groupCategoryDatePrize-fund (in Rs)

1 prize

(in Rs)

Under-18Open and GirlsJune 10-12 2.50 lakh25,000
Under-16Open and GirlsJune 13-152.50 lakh25,000
Under-14OpenJune 16-182.50 lakh27,000
Under-14GirlsJune 19-212.50 lakh27,000
Under-12OpenJune 22-242.50 lakh27,000
Under-12GirlsJune 25-272.50 lakh27,000
Under-10OpenJune 28-302.00 lakh26,000
Under-10GirlsJuly 01-032.00 lakh26,000
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