The Alekhine Chess Club, a favoured destination of upcoming chess players in the Eastern metropolis not very long ago, could lose its importance to Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua's academy set up last September.

The Alekhine club has been instrumental in establishing the successful Goodricke National Chess Academy, and in producing such stalwarts like Grandmasters Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Sandipan Chanda, Neelotpal Das, WGM Nisha Mohata and one GM norm holder Saheli Dhar Barua. But the club got a rude shock recently when Mary Ann Gomes, who finished second in the National A for women where she earned her maiden WGM norm, and state Under-13 champion Biten Banerjee moved to Barua's academy.

"We will continue to concentrate on producing young players," said Alekhine Club secretary Soumen Mazumdar. "It will be good for the state to have more academies. This will lead to healthy competition."

S. Sabanayakan