CHENNAI: The upcoming FIDE Online chess Olympiad is slated to be held from July 22 and August 30. But there seems to be an ambiguity on the list of players that will represent India in the competition.
The two warring factions in the All India Chess Federation (AICF) have picked different sets of teams. The group helmed by Bharat Singh Chauhan has named a 12-member team while the rival faction — led by PR Venketrama Raja — has chosen a 10-member side.
Players in the Chauhan faction include: Viswanathan Anand, Vidit Gujrathi, K Humpy, D Harika, P Harikrishna, B Adhiban, Bhakti Kulkarni, Tania Sachdev and the U-20 players are Nihal Sarin, R Vaishali, R Praggnanandhaa and Divya Deshmukh. On the other hand, Adhiban and Tania do not feature in the team selected by Raja’s camp. Also, it has a different set of U-20 players — Aradhya Garg, Mitrabha Guha, Srishti Pandey and Arpita Mukherjee. “We received two emails on the selection from different camps. As a senior player, I feature in both teams but imagine the plight of juniors —- who are in one team and not in another. How would they prepare for this event when they aren’t sure if they will be playing or not,” said one of the senior players in the team.
Bharat Singh said that the team picked from his camp was chosen after following all the necessary procedures. “We have gone by the rule book and picked players as per the selection criteria approved by the central council of AICF. Out of the 12 players we chose, 8 have already given their confirmation,” he told TOI on Friday. On the other hand, a member from the Raja’s faction made it clear that this was not the final list. “There will be some changes to it. We will release the final list in the coming days,” he said.
FIDE, the game’s governing body, is watching the developments closely. “We will not give any comment at this point of time, and the final date for sending the entries is July 13. We are hopeful that this issue will be resolved at the earliest and the event sees a strong Indian team participating,” said a senior FIDE official.
Meanwhile, the Chess Players Forum (CPF), which represents the players, has written to the central government requesting for an end to this crisis. “This selection of teams separately by the factions has led to much consternation among the players and chess lovers of the country. It has also caused the contacted players uncertainty as they are left in the dilemma of which of the factions to communicate in return, and how this will be perceived by the other faction,” wrote IM Varugeese Koshy, president, CPF.