Today in New Delhi, India
Jun 20, 2019-Thursday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Pune International Chess Festival: AMCA to take chess to next level in city after tournament’s roaring success

In all total 916 players are participating in the three tournaments, including 31st National Under-11 Championship for boys’ and girls’ tournament, The All India Open International Rating tournament and All India Open International Rating tournament for players below 1600 rating. 

pune Updated: Nov 27, 2017 15:25 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Chess,Festival
It’s after a long gap that the boxing hall of Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi is jam-packed with chess players while their parents watching from spectator galleries with excitement. (HT PHOTO)

Pune International Chess Festival 2017 has turned out to be grand success for the All Marathi Chess Association (AMCA) who organised a week-long event at boxing hall, Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi from November 22.

In all total 916 players are participating in the three tournaments, including 31st National Under-11 Championship for boys’ and girls’ tournament, The All India Open International Rating tournament and All India Open International Rating tournament for players below 1600 rating.

It’s been after a long gap that the big hall is jam-packed with chess players while their parents watching from spectator galleries with excitement.

However, it’s not an easy task to conduct a tournament on such a large scale and managing successfully and the AMCA officials are giving their best to cope up with the challenge.

Financial burden

The major obstacle of the organisers was managing the funds as they failed to attract any title sponsor for the event. With big prize money and other expenditures like rent for the venue, arbiter’s fees, the financial burden is overwhelming.

“It’s very difficult to manage such big events without strong financial backing. Right now we are managing it somehow with the entry fees, and most of the AMCA officials are using their sources to get the co-sponsors. Still, we are short of funds and literally paying from our pockets,” said Joseph D’ Souza, chairman of Pune District Chess Association.

“Even though Balewadi officials charged us at a subsidised rate, it’s still a huge amount. We are paying around 12 lakh just for the rent, excluding light and air conditioner charges. Even after paying so much money, in return we didn’t get good services, so we were forced to appoint one private company for the cleaning purpose,” he said.

“It wasn’t possible to accommodate almost 1000 players and their parents and the officials in any other venue in the city, so we didn’t have much choice but to go for Balewadi. Of course, the staying facility here is cheaper than city and it’s a big relief.”

Handling the numbers

It’s not easy to manage over 900 players at a single venue and when it comes to chess, it requires extra efforts to maintain the silence in the playing arena.

“As per FIDE rules, the organisers must have one arbiter for every 50 players, but to make it smoother, we have appointed more arbiters than required and it’s been going great. Handling the enthusiastic parents is another headache for us. For the first two days, we didn’t allow them to enter the venue but now we have hired a security system which helps us keeping parents at bay and not disturb the players,” said D’Souza.

Big plans ahead

Overcoming several obstacles, the organisers are managing to run the show successfully and the players from other states are appreciating their efforts. With a boosted confidence the officials are now planning to host bigger tournaments.

“This is just a beginning, we have several plans for the future. We are trying to get Grandmaster tournament, some coaching clinics and camps in Pune and this is going to benefit Pune players hugely,” said D’Souza.

Though the participation number in open tournament is less, it has become quite a challenge for the players, as you face a strong opponent in every round.

- IM Abhishek Kelkar, chess player

Having more tournaments in classic format will help the Pune players to gain huge experience and temperament. It’s beneficial for their playing career.

- Sanjay Kedge, secretary AMCA

The Open and under-1600 rating tournament dates got clashed, otherwise it would have attracted a bigger number.

- Joseph D’souza, chairman, PDCA

Participants in the Pune Chess Festival

Under-11 category Boys: 197

U-11 Girls: 138

Open: 77

U-1600: 504

Total: 916 entries

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 15:22 IST