Gangtok, Dec 10
National Senior Chess Championship 2019 was inaugurated by the Secretary to Sports & Youth Affairs Department, Kuber Bhandari here at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology [SMIT], Majhitar in East Sikkim on Tuesday. A total of 192 top rated players from different States, Union Territories and PSUs have been participating in the championship included 19 Grandmasters and 25 International Grandmasters. This is also the first occasion for Sikkim to host such many Grandmasters, International Masters, FIDE Masters, Women International Masters and top-rated chess players of the country.
The ten-day long prestigious championship is being organized by Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] on behalf of All India Chess Federation [AICF] and supported by Department of Sports & Youth Affairs, government of India.
In his inaugural address, Secretary SYA Department, Kuber Bhandari expressed that such prestigious national championship in the State would help in the promotion and development of the chess in Sikkim. He further expressed that the presence of more than 40 GMs and IMs of the country in the championship would encourage and motivate budding chess players of Sikkim. He congratulated SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal and his team for organizing the championship in a grand manner.
Secretary thanked the AICF for granting SCA to host the prestigious national championship in the State. He also expressed his best wishes to all participating players in the championship. He also stressed upon the need to include the chess in the school curriculum for the holistic development a child.
Earlier, the Chief Arbiter, Dharmendra Kumar expressed that it was a big achievement for Sikkim to host the prestigious and top-tier chess championship of the country. He expressed that such championship would help in the further promotion and development chess in the State. While congratulating SCA for hosting the championship, he stated that the championship would further boost the Sikkim chess.
Mr Kumar appreciated the progress shown by SCA in a short time for the development of chess in the country. Mr Kumar also appreciated the efforts of Mahendra Dhakal for bringing out numerous FIDE rated and around 500 registered chess players from the State in a short period. He also thanked the State government for extended its support to the championship.
The inaugural function was also addressed by a GM Abhijit Kunte.
The inaugural function was followed by the commencement of games in the championship. The championship will follow the Swiss League System of 11 rounds. The championship will be concluded on 19 December. The championship carries the total prize money of Rs 20 lakhs.
Speaking to media persons, SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal stated that it was a historic occasion for Sikkim to host the most prestigious chess championship of the country. He added that the championship has the world-class and top-rated GMs and IMs of the country. On the same, he expressed that the presence of the full strength of top-rated chess players of the country have raised the standard of the championship.
Mr Dhakal mentioned that the championship was also a good opportunity for local chess players to improve their FIDE rating and even to get IM or GM norms if they have been able to take points from them. He further expressed his hope for the better performance in the championship.
Likewise, Chief Arbiter stated that this is the first occasion for the entire north-eastern region to host this national championship so this is the big occasion for Sikkim to host the top seeded chess players of the country. He expressed that this championship was the milestone for Sikkim chess to boost it to the reach new heights and would also encourage and motivate budding chess players of Sikkim. He also expressed that it was also an opportunity for local players to meet and see games of world class GMs of the country.
Grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram Vr from Tamil Nadu also expressed that such national championship would boost the Sikkim chess and to 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. He stated this championship will take Sikkim in the world map of the chess. He also congratulated SCA and Mahendra Dhakal for conducting the championship in a grand manner.