The Apollo Engineering College Commonwealth chess championship was inaugurated by J.C.D. Prabhakar, President, All India Chess Federation, at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.

Bharat Singh Chauhan, President, Commonwealth Chess Association, D.V. Sundar, vice-president, FIDE, and Prof. Dr. V. Natarajan, Principal, Apollo EC, spoke. Prabhakar welcomed the players to the Mecca of Chess — Chennai — while Dr. Natarajan said Apollo was happy to enter the field of sports, especially the cerebral game.

The highest-rated among the Grandmaster-norm seekers are former Asian junior champion Shyam Sundar, Vishnu Prasanna, Akshayraj Kore, reigning Asian Junior champion N. Srinath, Shyam Nikhil, Ankit Rajpara and Swayams Mishra.

National champion G. Akash will also be among those seeking a Grandmaster norm.

Nearly a quarter of the Indian players — numbering around 100 — have won some age group Indian crowns and will be looking for the Commonwealth age group titles and international recognition here.

The event starts with a double round on Friday.

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