Visakhapatnam to host Asian Team chess tourney

Special Correspondent

To be held at Swarna Bharati stadium from Jan. 2 to 10 it offers over 10 lakh as prize money

VISAKHAPATNAM: The city is hosting its biggest chess tournament, the Asian Team championship, at the Swarna Bharati indoor stadium here from January 2 to 10, 2008.

Visakhapatnam witnessed National A, an FIDE meet and other major tournaments but the Asian team championship is the biggest official event so far.

Koneru Humpy, or P. Harikrishna and some of AP’s World ranked players might not participating but the competition among the Asian countries would certainly satisfy the lovers of chess. It is also the first tournament here to offer more than Rs. 10 lakh in prize money.

Youngsters of Visakhapatnam in particular and AP in general who have won many medals in international meets can watch some of the best in Asia in action and learn a lot.

As many as 34 players from AP have won medals in international tournaments and they are still winning and more are certain to get the honour for the country.

Andhra Pradesh Chess Association has conducted the Asian Team chess championship in the past in Hyderabad and when the championship was allotted to AP again, it was initially planned to be held in Hyderabad, but thanks to its recent track record and the facilities available here, it was decided to be conducted in Visakhapatnam.

The East Coast Chess Academy is organising the championship in association with the AP Chess Association and the All Vizag District Chess Association.

The country that wins the Asian Team championship in the men’s section will qualify for the World Team Championship.

The top men’s team here gets 1,000 US dollars as prize money and the women’s section topper receives 700 US dollars. Cash prizes will be given down to the fifth board winner.

India is the reigning champion in the men’s section while the Philippines and China are dominating the Asian Team championships held once in two years.

In the last 14 championships in the men’s section, the Philippines won six times, including the first four times (beginning in 1974) and later China started dominating, winning the title for the first time in 1983 and then three times in a row from 1987.

It was only later that a third country, Kazakhstan could take the title, in 1993. The Philippines regained the title in 1995 while Uzbekistan became new champion in the next meet held in 1999. China won back the title in the next championship held in 2003 in India.

It was in 2005 in Iran that India could lay its hand on the title.

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