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Chess Controversy: GM RB Ramesh resigns from chief selector's post citing 'interference'

By Pti

Chennai, July 7: Grandmaster RB Ramesh on Tuesday resigned as the chief selector of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) alleging "interference" from warring officials of rival factions.

AICF Secretary Vijay Deshpande accused Bharat Singh Chauhan of interfering in the selection process and said that led to Ramesh's resignation.

However, the AICF has not accepted his resignation. Ramesh, a former Commonwealth Chess champion, said he found it difficult to continue as the selection panel head due to the constant interference in team selection issues and confusion created by federation officials.

"I have quit as chief selector of the AICF because of interference in team selection and the uncertainty prevailing in the federation...It was also getting too complicated," Ramesh told PTI.

He further said the team had been selected as per norms laid down by the AICF and added that his fellow selectors were in agreement. The other selectors were International Master Lanka Ravi and FIDE Master Ashwini Tiwari.

Ramesh said he had picked the squad going by the rating of January to March as no tournaments were held after that owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

The factional feud in the federation had cropped up again when the groups -- one headed by President P R Venketrama Raja and the other by secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan -- had named separate teams for the Online Chess Olympiad scheduled from July 22.

However, the two factions then appeared to reach a common ground and named similar squads. The Raja and Chauhan factions have been at loggerheads over various issues.

In a press release, Deshpande said Ramesh was entrusted to select the Indian team for the 1st Online Chess Olympiad to be held from July 22 to August 30.

"Acting on the suggestion of the Selection Committee, PRV Raja, the President of All India Chess Federation has forwarded the list of players to represent India to the World Chess Federation," he said.

"However, the rival group led by Bharat Singh Chauhan, who claims to be the Secretary of AICF despite his removal by the President, insisted on including the name of a Delhi player.

"When reminded by Ramesh that the player did not qualify on technical grounds, Chauhan forwarded the confidential mails directly to the player concerned," he added.

Protesting against this, the former British Chess champion (Ramesh) tendered his resignation immediately, Deshpande said. Deshpande condemned the acts of Chauhan and said Ramesh's resignation was unfortunate and had not been accepted.

"The resignation of Ramesh is unfortunate, but AICF has not accepted his resignation considering his huge contribution for Indian chess. AICF has never interfered in the selection committee's decision and ignored Bharat Singh as he is not Secretary of AICF," he added.

Anand, Humpy confirm participation

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand and current women's Rapid world champion Koneru Humpy have confirmed their participation in the Olympiad, according to Chauhan. Team:

Men: Viswanathan Anand and Vidit Gujrathi;

Reserves: P Harikrishna and Aravindh Chithambaram;

Women: Koneru Humpy, D Harika;

Reserves: Bhakti Kulkarni and R Vaishali;

Junior boys: Nihal Sarin;

Reserve: R Praggnanandhaa;

Junior girls: Divya Deshmukh;

Reserve: Vantika Agarwal.

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Story first published: Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 0:38 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 8, 2020