AICF’s player-friendly claim questioned

Gurpreet Pal Singh has reacted strongly to the statement by the All India Chess Federation on Friday that said, “No player can be stopped from playing chess. This is the motto of AICF.”

Gurpreet Pal Singh (right): “AICF is saying something which it does not practice.”   -  R. V. Moorthy

The All India Chess Federation (AICF) is grappling with more court cases than ever before. As if that was not enough, its recent claim of being pro-players has came under a scathing attack.

A day after the AICF backed Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua’s allegations of wrongdoings by the Bengal Chess Association, Railway player Gurpreet Pal Singh has challenged the governing body of the sport in the country.

Gurpreet has spearheaded players’ legal battle with the AICF since 2011 in seeking justice for over 50 players whose international rating was taken away by FIDE at the behest of the AICF. He has reacted strongly to AICF’s statement on Friday that said, “No player can be stopped from playing chess. This is the motto of AICF.”

‘Our plight exposes AICFs’ lies’

Gurpreet, a former National junior champion, said, “AICF is saying something which it does not practice. We, the aggrieved players, battled for over eight years before FIDE saw sense in our argument and restored our rating by brushing aside the objections of AICF. Even now, the AICF is insisting on apology before registering us as players. So many players have suffered in silence since 2011 after being denied opportunities to play in tournaments. Our plight exposes AICFs’ lies.”

Continuing with his tirade, Gurpreet said, “The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has fined AICF for its anti-competitive practices. Even after FIDE restored our ratings, we players continue to fight AICF for our right to play chess freely. Indeed, if AICF was so player-friendly, why did it fight a legal battle against players for eight years?”

He made an appeal to the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to look into the issues of conflict of interest involving the AICF office-bearers and ensure “the CCI order was implemented in the true spirit for the benefit of the suffering players.”