KOZHIKODE: The rise of PT Ummer Koya from the last grade staff at the Calicut University to the top of the global chess body is a testament to his determination, sheer hard work and love for the sport. Indeed Koya’s death is a great loss to Indian chess as his efforts put the country and many players in the world map.
Chess Association of Kerala president A M Kunhu Moidheen, who maintained a close bond with Koya said: “For long 20 years, he served as AICF joint secretary and general secretary between 1985-89 and 1989-2005, respectively. Indian chess achieved its glorious heights during his tenure.”
“Koya was instrumental in establishing national and world age-category chess championships. He set standards in organisation of chess tournaments in India,” said Moidheen. Mizoram Governor and senior BJP leader Sreedharan Pillai said Koya deserves a big tribute.
“His rise to the top of FIDE shows his willpower. Koya is highly respected in all the chess-playing countries in the world, especially those which were part of the former Soviet Union,” he said.
Chess player K Ratnakaran, who was a close confidant of Koya, said: “He was an international arbitrator and controlled many international competitions. “Always smiling and cheerful, Koya often hosted players at his house. Koya was the sultan of friendship; a man of great knowledge and lover of music, especially Ghazals. I would say, Koya was a synonym for modesty,” said Ratnakaran.