July 12 is Independence Day for Indian chess players: Gurpreet & Karun

Chennai, Jul 11 (IANS): July 12, is a red lettered day for Indian chess players. For it was on this day, two years ago, they got the freedom to play in tournaments of their choice.

While a lot has changed since then for the chess players as there are many chess tournaments being held in the country, nothing much has changed for the two ‘Indian chess freedom fighters' viz Gurpreet Pal Singh and Karun Duggal.

"Yes, July 12 is the Independence Day for Indian chess players. But nothing much has changed for us. Our sporting career was killed at our prime age. We had to wage a battle spending our own money in the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against the All India Chess Federation (AICF) which was using the players' money to engage lawyers," Gurpreet and Karun told IANS.

The duo said they have not been readmitted into AICF because they did not give a letter of apology.

"It was a very good victory. I don't have anything special for Sunday. Now there is factional fight in AICF and all are now saying that they would be player friendly," Gurpreet added.

"The one good thing that has happened to many chess players including me was the restoration of our Elo rating. This was mainly due to the efforts of British Grandmaster Nigel Short, Vice President, FIDE. We are thankful to FIDE for that," he said.

"I will be applying for the FIDE Master (FM) title as my rating is over 2,300," he remarked.

According to Karun, post CCI order he is getting chess coaching assignments and one of his wards -- Rishabh Kumar -- is ranked first in the Under-8 category in the country.

A primary class teacher in one of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) schools in North Delhi, Duggal also coaches the school students.

"Poor students from government schools are not able to participate in any chess tournaments in Delhi as the entry fee is very high," Karun added.

On July 12, 2018, the CCI held that the undertaking prescribed by the AICF for players regarding non-participation in events not authorised by it amounted to restraints that were in the nature of exclusive distribution and refusal to deal as defined in Section 3(f) and 3(4)d) of the Competition Act 2002.

The CCI said the non-compliance of such undertaking will result in banning of players and removal of their Elo rating, create entry barriers, foreclose competition and restrict opportunities available to players.

The CCI also imposed a penalty of Rs.692,350 upon AICF for infringing the provisions of Section 4 of the Act.

The AICF though has changed its rules in line with CCI order, it has gone on appeal against the order with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).


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Title : July 12 is Independence Day for Indian chess players: Gurpreet & Karun


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