A ‘pawn’ mutiny in Telangana chess intensifies after 8-yr old girl was barred from playing

Parents of several little chess players decided to boycott the Telangana Under 11 state selection tournament till Kaur was allowed to play the tournament.

Chennai: The cruel act of barring an 8-year old little girl, Jasveen Kaur, from playing in the Under 11 Telangana state chess selection tournament by the Telangana State Chess Association (TSCA) President K.S.Prasad has intensified the ‘pawn/sepoy’ mutiny in the state.

Parents of several little chess players decided to boycott the Telangana Under 11 state selection tournament till Kaur was allowed to play the tournament. Now efforts are on to form chess associations in all the districts in the state and seek government recognition.

The national and state chess associations in India have been treating the upcoming chess players and their parents like pawns. And if a handful of young players do shine at the global level, it is certainly not because of the national federation or its state affiliates but due to the efforts of their parents, chess players said.

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Meanwhile, the Kaur episode has added further fuel to the mutiny fire in the Telangana state.

“We are planning to register Hyderabad District Democratic Chess Association (HDDCA). The byelaws are almost ready. The idea is to form similar associations in all the 33 districts in the state and go for the recognition from the state government,” Senior National Chess Arbiter and FIDE Trainer Kandi Ravi and the President of HDDCA told IANS.

He said that while the current name of the body is Hyderabad Democratic Chess Association, we will register the body as HDDCA.

He said that in two months time about 12-15 district chess associations will be formed.

“Presently no one knows about the existence of district chess associations in Telangana,” Ravi said.

Already about 300 chess players, parents of young chess players trainers, tournament organisers, have formed Telangana Democratic Chess Development Committee (TDCDA) for the development and administration of the game in a democratic manner.

Ravi said that the attempt to ban 8-year old Kaur from playing the tournament has escalated the issue.

Speaking about the manner in which his daughter was not allowed to play in the first round of the U-11 Telangana state selection tournament Rishpal Singh told IANS: “We had paid the entry fee as stipulated. My wife was taking my daughter to the tournament venue. On the way, she was told by the TSCA Secretary K.S.Prasad that Kaur will not be allowed to play as her father (myself) had raised questions against the state association.”

Singh, a FIDE Master (FM) and FIDE Trainer (FT) said: “Prasad also told, that my wife and I should come in person and give an undertaking that we will not raise questions against the state chess association.”

During his school days, Singh has won silver and bronze medals in several age group chess tournaments at the national level.

“At that time, I was targeted by the association officials as my father used to question their actions. Now I am asking questions and my daughter is penalised,” Singh said.

“The kid got worried and was asking us why she was not allowed to play and was it because she was late or her earlier performance was not up to the mark,” Singh said.

The parents tried to keep the troubled young little Kaur pacified but she did know something was amiss.

Interestingly Kaur was an upcoming talent in Telangana as she had represented the state in the Under 7 National Championship earlier.

On hearing that an eight year old girl was not allowed to play as a revenge against her father by the TSCA Secretary Prasad, many chess players in the state were shocked.

The next day, chess lovers gathered at the tournament venue and Singh spoke to the parents of other kids and narrated Kaur’s ordeal.

“Today, it is my child but tomorrow it can be yours,” Singh had told the parents who had come to drop their kids at the venue.

Aghast at the injustice meted to the little girl, the parents of other players decided to boycott the tournament.

“It was a total boycott. There was no parent who had wanted the tournament to go on,” Singh said.

On coming to know of the issue, Dr. Ediga Anjaneya Goud, Chairman of Sports Authority of Telangana and Ravinder Singh, Chairman, Telangana State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd also intervened in support of the little girl.

Finally, Kaur was allowed to play from the second round onwards. But the damage has already been done to the child as she had to face the trauma, Singh said.

When queried about the kind of issues that has resulted in his daughter almost getting banned Singh said: “I had demanded payment of travel allowance to the players who represent the state in national tournaments. Also hold the tournaments in venues where there is a good toilet facility. Many parents used to take their kids to nearby hotels to answer nature’s call. I had also raised the issue of forcing parents to buy T-shirts while playing in tournaments.”

Singh has sent a complaint to the All India Chess Federation (AICF) about the attempt to ban his daughter and has asked the body to direct the Players Grievance Committee to probe the issue.

“I am yet to get a reply from AICF,” Singh said.

But that is the attitude of AICF if one goes by its reaction to the past episodes of young and old chess players not being allowed to play in tournaments by the district associations in Tamil Nadu.

Couple of years back, a 11 year old schoolboy Karthick Rahul was barred from playing in a chess tournament midway by D.Paulkumar, Secretary, Tirunelveli District Chess Development Association (TDCA).

“Such an episode could be a lifetime trauma for a child,” India’s second Grandmaster (GM) in chess and Arjuna Awardee Dibyendu Barua had told IANS.

“Evicting the child while playing a game is emotional harassment or abuse. It might impact the child affected by it directly and those who had seen this episode. Eleven years is the spurt of adolescence. It is at this stage that children try to build competencies,” city based consultant psychologist Chitra Aravind told IANS.

However, no action was taken by AICF or the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association (TNSCA) against Paulkumar which emboldened him to strike again early this year. This time against three senior FIDE rated players.

And again no action was taken by AICF and TNSCA against Paulkumar.

While players come up on their own efforts, officials of AICF and state chess associations do claim credit and try to associate themselves with the successful players.

Prasad, President of Telangana State Chess Association, was not available for comments when IANS tried to reach him.

Be that as it may, it is also disappointing to see Chess Players Forum founded “..with a vision to give a voice to the chess players of India for their own welfare and rights, as well as duties..” remaining silent on the injustice meted to the eight year old female chess player.

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