All-India Chess Federation and Chess Association of India merge to end infighting

The recently elected president of AICF, Sanjay Kapoor, announced the merger at a joint press conference in Lucknow, revealing that all the warring factions, and not just at the national level but also in various states, have now come together under the umbrella of the AICF.

Chessboard

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: AICF president Sanjay Kapoor and Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan also launched the Avijai Chess Academy for players as part of its nationwide Chess in Schools programme.   -  Getty Images

The All-India Chess Federation and the breakaway Chess Association of India have merged into one entity to run the sport. 

The recently elected president of AICF, Sanjay Kapoor, announced this at a joint press conference in Lucknow on Saturday, revealing that all the warring factions, and not just at the national level but also in various states, have now come together under the umbrella of the AICF.

"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 stated in a release.

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"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.

"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," Bharat Singh Chauhan, AICF secretary, said.

Apart from the wrangling at the national level, chess has suffered a great deal in Uttar Pradesh, 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 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 added.

UP Chess Association president PC 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 to signal the burial of the hatchet.

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The All-India Chess Federation, under its new set of office-bearers, had announced several plans and initiatives to revitalise chess in the country. But the pandemic hit the world immediately after they came to power, offsetting their plans.

"We are eager to launch at least some of our key initiatives at the earliest and are waiting for the conditions in the country to improve to get cracking," Kapoor said.

"That hasn't stopped us from tying up with the Kalinga University in Bhubaneswar to set up India's first state-of-the-art academy for chess. It is part of our nationwide Chess in Schools programme that we are keen on implementing soon," he added.

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