Already in turmoil, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) suffered another blow when chief selector Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh resigned from the post on Monday.
Widely considered a sane voice in the midst of all the confrontation within the federation, it is learnt that Ramesh found it impossible to continue in the highly-politicised environment.
Perhaps, what proved the proverbial last straw for Ramesh were the unsavoury developments ahead of the team for the upcoming FIDE Online Olympiad from July 22 to August 30.
In fact, Ramesh’s role assumed significance in the current scenario with the world chess federation (FIDE) President Arkady Dvorkovich choosing to communicate with him on the subject of sending the Indian team to the Online Olympiad, since the term of the AICF office-bearers ended on June 25.
Further, AICF is one of the 54 National Sports Federations (NSFs) whose annual affiliation stands cancelled till September 30. The Sports Ministry took the decision recently following a directive of the Delhi High Court.
Meanwhile, spearhead Viswanathan Anand and K. Humpy have confirmed their participation in the Online Olympiad. Bharat Singh Chauhan, who leads one of the factions in AICF, received the confirmations from the players.
Before resigning, Ramesh sent the team to FIDE following some changes to the teams proposed by both factions.
Going by rating rules pertaining to selection, National champion Aravindh Chithambaram came in for B. Adhiban. Former Asian champion Tania Sachdev, originally a reserve in the women’s team, is replaced by junior girl R. Vaishali. The Tamil Nadu girl, first-choice as the junior in the team, made way for Divya Deshmukh.
The decision to leave out Tania was taken after she failed to meet the AICF selection criteria (for team events) of playing a minimum of nine norm-games over a period of six months. Between October 2019 and March 2020, Tania played only in the seven-round National team championship in February.
The team (men): Viswanathan Anand and Vidit Gujrathi, Reserves: P. Harikrishna and Aravindh Chithambaram; (women): K. Humpy, D. Harika, Bhakti Kulkarni and R Vaishali; (junior boys) Nihal Sarin; Reserve: R. Praggnanandhaa; (junior girls): Divya Deshmukh; Reserve: Vantika Agarwal.
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