With Rs. 15 lakh as prize money, the inaugural Delhi Open All India chess tournament is set to be the richest ever in the game in the country. Ironically, the event might well be without a single rated player since it does not enjoy All India Chess Federation’s sanction.
The organiser, the newly-formed Chess Association of India (CAI), intends to hold the ambitious mega-event at the Sadhu Vaswani International School for girls, Shanti Niketan, from December 23 to 29.
“We are registered under the Society’s Act and do not require any recognition from any other authority,” declared CAI’s President Naveen Wal at a press conference here on Monday. “The new body is committed to organise tournaments all over the country with minimum prize money of Rs. five lakh and the maximum going up to Rs. 25 lakh in the Piloo Mody tournament scheduled for December next.”
The Organising Secretary D. K. Gupta expected over 500 entries for the 10-round competition that offers 80 cash prizes, including Rs. Three lakh to the winner, Rs. 1.50 lakh for the runner-up, Rs. one lakh for the third-placed.
In addition, six prizes ranging from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 1,000 will be awarded for women and each of the four age-group categories. Entry fee has been fixed at Rs. 1000 that includes dormitory accommodation for the outstation players. The CAI, with affiliated units in 18 states, was mobilising resources to take the number of entries past the 500 mark.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chess Association (DCA) secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, who is also the AICF treasurer, made it clear that all registered players of the AICF and DCA had been asked to stay away from the tournament.
“I am all for chess activities. But in this case, Organising Secretary D. K. Gupta is serving a six-year ban (by the AICF) after being found guilty of manipulating results in one of the rated tournaments he organised in 2006. The AICF cannot recognise any activity from a player/organiser not cleared by it,” he maintained.