CHENNAI: For the first time, Viswanathan Anand’s name has gotten involved in an event related to the battle between two factions of the All India Chess Federation (AICF). He is one of the seven panellists for a Facebook Live discussion called ‘Chess in Times of Covid-19: Challenges and Opportunities’ to take place on June 21.Organised by Maharashtra Chess Association (MCA), the programme has other prominent names like India No 2 Vidit Gujrathi and Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky, a director general of FIDE. A promo says Bharat Singh Chauhan is also among the panellists and introduces him as AICF secretary. It says the event is in association with AICF.
The AICF president PR Venketrama Raja had removed Chauhan from the secretary’s post on April 6 and appointed Vijay Deshpande. The Chauhan faction didn’t accept this and ousted Raja in an online meeting on April 22. The same meeting disaffiliated All Marathi Chess Association (AMCA) and recognised MCA. The Raja group terms the meeting illegal and plans action once the courts reopen.
“MCA is not recognised and Chauhan is not the AICF secretary. AICF recognises AMCA. Decisions taken at the online meeting are not valid. AICF is not associated with this event. But since it is about chess, we won’t object. Once the court reopens, we will bring these to the notice of the bench,” said Deshpande.
Chauhan, who had claimed Raja doesn’t have the power to remove him as secretary, countered by saying there is nothing wrong with the event. “The sports ministry recognises me as secretary. It’s my responsibility to look after day to day activities. I am going by decisions taken at the online meeting,” said Chauhan.While arguments will continue until the court gives a verdict, it remains to be seen how and if the factions use Anand’s association with the June 21 programme. It can be noted that Raja’s company sponsored Anand in the past.