The entire Indian Sports community has been affected like other countries of the world. Outdoor games, as well as indoor games events, are not taking place because of coronavirus Pandemic. Disaffiliation of some sports federations created confusion among the entire sports fraternity. In this adverse situation, ITV Network talks to Bharat Singh Chauhan who is Chairman, FIDE Technical Commission, Chairman-Commonwealth Chess Association, Deputy President-Asian Chess Federation, Member-FIDE Executive Board, Hony. Secy. All India Chess Federation, President Delhi Chess Association. Excerpts:
Q: How do you see the disaffiliation of Sports Association which can cause hurdle for Indian sportspersons’ participation in international sports events?
A: As per my knowledge and experience, it will not affect any game. Interestingly, our Chess Association is not a member of the Indian Olympic Association. Moreover, there is no chess game championship taking place, in any parts of the world. The prestigious Chess Olympiad which was planned to organize in Russia this year also postponed due to Corona Pandemic. As of today a lot of chess activities are not taking place, so I don’t think it will hamper any game. This is a temporary face. This postponing is not only happening for Chess but also for entire games. Last month, we along with 15 sports federations, met with Union Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju on this Court issue of disaffiliation. I hope this is a political issue which will be resolved within a month. So nothing to worry about the participation of Indians sportsperson internationally.
Q: What is the future of Online concept in indoor & Outdoor Sports?
A: Technology will play an important role in future. Yes, there will be some challenges in all the games to handle. Some Asian, European championships have already planned to conduct online concept in sports. To continue life in Sports, we have to adjust ourselves accordingly in Outdoor games like Cricket, Hockey & Football etc. Now, with the innovation, invention and introduction of Online Championship, the spectators can view from home itself. We have already planned for online, National Championship in India. It will benefit the local talent initiate from the block, district, state and reach up to National level. We are even searching for some computer labs state-wise (under the supervision of Arbitrators ) where we can establish 2-3 Chess Centres in big states and one centre in the small state respectively. We have a big team, now We are waiting for the green signal from the Indian Government, after that we’ll execute and conduct online National Chess Championship,
Q: What are your remarks about Chess legend Vishwanathan Anand, Koneru Humpy and Parimarjan Negi. Means acknowledging their contribution towards chess game and promoting /encouraging budding chess players.
A: Vishwanath Anand is the iconic figure of Indian chess and his contribution is invaluable. Those who are not following the game also knows the name of this legend which itself vouch for his status in India. It’s commendable to place on record that, in a cricket crazy nation, Anand was the first recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest sporting honour of the country. If I come to Humpy, she is the flag bearer of women chess in the country. If you are looking at an inspirational story in the world of chess, it is definitely Koneru Humpy. After two years of break from competitive chess, she is back where she belongs- world No. 2 with three huge titles before the pandemic. It all began with Skolkovo Women’s Grand Prix, followed by the World Rapid Championship title and Cairns Cup 2020. What more we ask from Humpy. If I came to the young generation, Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi showed the world that India started producing young talents and now youngsters like Nihal Sarin, Praggnannandha, Gukesh etc following the suit to make India a superpower in chess. It is pertinent to mention that just two days back India got its 66th Grandmaster in G Akash.
Q: As chess sports Administrator how your chess association promoting -creating opportunities for talented chess players.
A: My association with the game is for more than four decades. I started chess as a player and now as an administrator. I put my wholehearted efforts for the development of the game, which is due to the passion I have towards the game. As an administrator, it has been through many relentless efforts of All India Chess Federation that chess today is looked upon as a career sport in the minds of the parents, the opinion leaders of bright young children. We have 66 Grandmasters in the country and most of them have achieved this title in recent years. Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand is the flag bearer of Indian chess and there are many more youngsters who are vying to take top positions in world rankings. Overall, as the administrators, lovers and promoters of Chess, it’s been a satisfying journey for us and we are now working to make India the number one chess-playing nation in the world.
Q: How can Sports connect & unite people again, what is your opinion?
A: Yes Sports play a very important role in our life. We should start promoting sports at the root level. Slowly-slowly we should start sports events. Sports bring overall development, regular sports should start again. We have never ever thought over a meeting on Zoom within four months we experience technology well. Now, getting all comfort level just because of technological development. Earlier It was a very difficult time to meet Minister, yes it is true that Technology can connect people but meeting and playing together always matter. Now, we have to adopt changes, accept challenges Adjustment and follow new rules. Reduce Championship time duration. Ultimately, It is a fact that Sports can connect and unite the people again.
The interviewer is the Bureau Chief of Himalini. He is the Founder of Creative World Media Academy & has written two books on media education.