The new CPF chess corps seeks to learn from failure

KOLKATA: There couldn't have been a better time for the launch of Chess Players Forum (CPF), with recent infightings within the Indian Chess Federation (AICF) damaging the image of the games in the country.

The seven founding members, which include Grandmasters Dibyendu Barua , Abhijit Kunte and the great teacher of women Swati ghate , feel that it is time for chess players to have a voice.

A similar platform had existed with the Chess Players Association of India (CPAI) that was formed in 2004. However, that body did not last.

CPAI was formed when former AICF general secretary Ummer Koya decided to reduce the players' cash prize, he told TOI Barua, who was also a member of that body. That forum didn't last long, but CPAI was instrumental in defeating Koya in the AICF polls that followed, Barua said.

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India's second GM added, although there was no immediate reason for the formation of CPF, but the current instability within the AICF did play an important role.

Some of the players approached the Sports ministry regarding this turmoil a few months ago. We did not get the necessary response, but we felt the need for a forum to express the voice of the players in an organized manner, Barua said.

But the main challenge, according to Barua, is to obtain AICF recognition. CPAI suffered on that front as the parent body is never willing to recognize the players' platform, he said.

But the winner of the Arjuna award, who is the vice president of this forum, is hopeful that the new holders of AICF positions will accept them as the Sports Code has asked for the representation of the players in all the associations. “We are in a membership campaign now and we are contacting all players from the past and present. We have a good response from the main players. We have different membership categories and not just players, but anyone associated with the game is welcome, ”said Barua.

Players should have a voice in the federation's policy-making process and perhaps also have representation in the parent body, Barua said.

The agency will also seek to have some sponsors and donors to raise funds for its daily operations.