Commonwealth chess championship in New Delhi to clash with Kochi U17 nationals

Sri Lanka was supposed to host the Commonwealth chess championship but after the Easter bomb blasts there, the event will now be happening in New Delhi from June 30 to July 7, thereby clashing with Kochi’s under-17 National.

The Kochi National will run till July 7, which is the same day the New Delhi Commonwealth Championship will be ending.   -  Getty Images

The Easter terror attack in Sri Lanka in April has hit Kochi hard as it gets ready to host the 30th National under-17 chess championship at the Oberon Mall here from Saturday.

“Sri Lanka was supposed to host the Commonwealth chess championship but after the bomb blasts there, the event had to be moved out. And since Bharat Singh Chauhan (the Indian body AICF secretary) is the president of the Commonwealth Chess Association, it came to a situation where India was virtually forced to host it,” said R. Rajesh, the secretary of the Chess Association Kerala, on Wednesday evening.

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Unfortunately, the Commonwealth championship’s new dates – it will be held in New Delhi from June 30 to July 7 – clash with Kochi’s under-17 National.

“So, many players who had wanted to play in Kochi, suddenly decided to play in the Commonwealth event. Even Divya Deshmukh, who would have been the tournament’s top seed in the open section here, pulled out,” said Sandhya Krishnakumar, the secretary of the Four Queens Chess Club which is organising the National on behalf of the Chess Association Kerala.

“We have probably lost some 60 to 80 players (who would have paid a special entry fee of Rs 5000 each), that will hit us financially. We have a budget of Rs 12 lakh for this event. Still, we are happy to host the National for the sake of our players.”

The Kochi National, which runs till July 7 and which will be played in the open and girls categories, will have about 150 players. The event has a total prize fund of Rs 2.5 lakh with the winner of the open and girls sections taking home Rs 25,000 each.