Gangtok, 10 Dec:
The National Senior Chess Championship 2019 was inaugurated by Secretary, Sports & Youth Affairs Department, Kuber Bhandari, here at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology at Majhitar in East Sikkim today.
192 top-rated chess players from different States, Union Territories and PSUs are participating in the championship including 19 Grandmasters and 25 International Grandmasters. This is also the first time that the championship is coming to the North East, bringing Sikkim the opportunity to host so many Grandmasters, International Masters, FIDE Masters, Women International Masters and top-rated chess players of the country.
The ten-day championship is being organized by Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] on behalf of All India Chess Federation [AICF] and is supported by the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs.
In his inaugural address, Secretary, SYA Department, Kuber Bhandari, commented that such a prestigious championship will help in the promotion and development of chess in Sikkim.
He further expressed that the presence of more than 40 GMs and IMs will encourage and motivate budding chess players of Sikkim. He congratulated SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal, and his team for organizing the championship in such a grand manner.
Mr Bhandari thanked the AICF for granting SCA the opportunity to host the championship in the State.
He also conveyed his best wishes to all participating players and also stressed the need to include chess in the school curriculum for the holistic development a child.
Earlier, Chief Arbiter, Dharmendra Kumar, appreciated the progress shown by SCA for the development of chess in Sikkim and appreciated the efforts of Mr Dhakal in grooming numerous FIDE-rated and around 500 registered chess players from the State within such a short period. He also thanked the State government for extending support to the championship.
The inaugural function was also addressed by a GM Abhijit Kunte.
The championship is following the Swiss League System of 11 rounds and carries a total prize money of Rs 20 lakh.
Speaking to media persons, the SCA general secretary pointed out that presence of the full strength of top-rated chess players of the country has raised the standard of the championship.
Grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram from Tamil Nadu reiterated that such a national championship will boost chess in Sikkim and encourage and motivate budding players form Sikkim.
Likewise, Grandmaster Sriram Jha from LIC SPB stated that this was the biggest championship of this magnitude with 19 GMs playing for the first time in Sikkim. “This championship will take Sikkim to the world map of chess,” he said.