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Under-7 chess introduces a sense of competition among kids, says Shobharaj Khonde

It is very important for children who learn chess from their parents to come and compete with other players of their age, says chief referee, Maharashtra state chess selection

pune Updated: Mar 16, 2019 17:06 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,under-7,tournament
Shobharaj Khonde, chief referee, Maharashtra state chess selection(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Under-7 tournament is the first stepping stone where a chess player is introduced to the game at a competition level. Shobharaj Khonde, chief referee for the Maharashtra state selection under-7 girls and boys chess championship played at Khed Shivapur, tells Jigar Hindocha the importance of the event. Khonde is also the joint secretary of All Marathi Chess Association, a body affiliated to All India Chess Federation.

How important is the ongoing tournament?

The players competing here are champions of district-level tournaments. The top two winners in boys and girls category will represent Maharashtra in the under-7 national chess tournament to be held in West Bengal on June 1-6.

Earlier, the kids used to get a chance to compete in under-14 tournaments conducted by district sports office, but now the government has disallowed their entries to higher age category tournaments ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

How does the contest help the young participants?

Under-7 tournaments are the first step for kids to enter a competition level. It is very important for children who learn chess from their parents to come and compete with other players of their age. Most of the participants here are experienced. Earlier, these kids used to get a chance to compete in under-14 tournaments conducted by district sports office, but now the government has disallowed their entries to higher age category tournaments. I feel the government should start tournaments for the under-7 age category as it will help the Indian chess fraternity.

Participants belonging to under-7 age category in action on the first day of late Shikshanmaharshi Shivajirao Konde Memorial Maharashtra state selection under-7 chess championship played at Khed Shivapur on Friday. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

How popular is chess in Pune?

Pune has around 4,000 registered chess players. The number is growing every day. Maharashtra conducts a number of chess tournaments in a year, making future champions. In the ongoing tournament, we have a prize money of Rs 30,000 which will be distributed among the top 10 players. From Nandurbar to Gadchiroli, we conduct tournaments in all age groups. We don’t even leave small towns to promote the sport. Parents’ support is also there as most of them want their kids to get into chess as it helps them in academics, besides the sport’s other advantages.

Difficulties faced while organising the tourneys

Taking care of parents’ emotions is one thing which we need to look into. When parents get involved then it becomes a bit difficult. We make sure that arbiters are there to handle such situations.

Poorvi Lathi reacts before her match while her father talks to her during Maharashtra state selection under-7 girls and boys chess championship, Khed Shivapur on Friday. ( Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo )

Are the two state chess bodies operating as per the given standards?

Our body — All Marathi Chess Association (state body) is affiliated to All India Chess Federation. The second body is the Maharashtra Chess Association. We conduct recognised tournaments all over the city giving a platform for players to become champions.

Game format:

* Number of players registered: 150 entries

* Tournament: March 15 to 17

* The tournament is conducted in Swiss system format (In a Swiss-system tournament, players are never eliminated. In every round, each player is paired against an opponent who has the same, or a similar number of points in the tournament.) in classical style with three rounds played every day.

* In the boys’ section, there are nine rounds, while in the girls’ section there are eight.

* The player who wins the most number of rounds is announced as the winner.

Result format:

Win: No points

Loss: No points

Draw: ½ point to each player

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 17:04 IST