Pune’s Chess Association chairman on players’ busy schedules and big tournaments | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Pune’s Chess Association chairman on players’ busy schedules and big tournaments

Talking to HT, Joseph D’ souza draws a rosy picture claiming that Pune players will have a busy schedule ahead as several big tournaments are lined up in 2017-18.

pune Updated: Sep 11, 2017 17:17 IST
D’souza has been associated with the sport for more than three decades and is back in action since March 2017 after a gap of five years.  
D’souza has been associated with the sport for more than three decades and is back in action since March 2017 after a gap of five years.  (HT PHOTO)

Ashish Phadnis

Pune District Chess Association chairman Joseph D’ souza is quite an enthusiastic person. The person who is associated with the sport for more than three decades is back in action since March 2017 after a gap of five years.  

Talking to HT, D’souza draws a rosy picture claiming that Pune players will have a busy schedule ahead as several big tournaments are lined up in 2017-18. 

How will be the upcoming tournament calendar? 

It’s a packed schedule for players. From November several tournaments are lined up, including under-11 national championship, Open All India international rating and rated tournament for Below 1600 rating are to name a few. 

Then we will have India’s oldest chess tournament Jolly Club tournament which is being organised since 1917. Then another old tournament is Khare Memorial rating tournament. 

We are also planning to have 12 classic format tournament in a calendar year. It’s been observed that several tournaments are held in rapid or blitz format, which only help organisers. Another plan is to make Maharashtra Chess League big. We are trying to attract foreign players into it and will disclose the details later. 

Then there are several district, state and national tournaments along with school-level and age group state selection tournaments which are held at a regular basis. 

It’s said that city is lacking in quality coaches? What’s your observation? 

I don’t think so, as per my records city has 138 coaches, which is a good number. And we have always paid attention for the quality coaching. Pune was the first city in India to conduct foreign Grandmaster coaching workshop. In 1971, we have invited most famous GM Miguel Najdorf, known for his legendary opening. 

So I would say that we have a good number of coaches who are capable of handling the player at any level. Of course, one thing we must admit that chess coaching has become costly and players with humble background can’t afford the fees. So we are working on that and planning to build a fund for those talented yet deprived players in near future. 

What are the association’s plans for the future? 

We need to work on three levels. First step will be to spread the game at grass route level and should provide the basic chess facilities in rural areas. We are currently working on it, and getting a good response. Almost 3000-3500 students are actively participating in inter-school tournaments from rural areas. 

Then for the intermediate level players, more prize money tournaments and leagues will be conducted and lastly there will be support for the top level players in getting grandmaster coaching camps and funding.