All India Chess Federation (AICF).. Image Source: IANS News

Chennai, Feb 16 : The first special meeting of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) general body convened after the election of new office bearers will discuss matters relating to the upcoming chess Olympiad, national championships and others, said the Secretary.

"We will discuss matters related to chess. We are working on chess issues. The meeting would also discuss how to fill up the remaining vacancies in AICF," Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary, AICF told IANS. The general body will be held on February 27 at Ahmedabad.

The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Moscow this August.

For the 2018 Olympiad held at Batumi in Georgia, the AICF had arranged a foreign coach, high-speed servers or "chess engines", four young chess Grand Masters (GM) to provide research and analytical assistance, which were unheard of earlier.

The AICF had also located a restaurant serving Indian food in Batumi for the Indian players. It has to be seen what the AICF is planning to do this time around.

With the general body being called soon after the conclusion to election process, Chauhan does not expect it to be acrimonious. Nor does he expect any drastic moves by the members of the rival camp against the newly elected (unopposed) five-member team at the helm of the AICF.

"I don't have anything against the former AICF President P.R. Venketrama Raja. My fight was only against D.V. Sundar, former Vice President," Chauhan remarked.

On filling up of the remaining vacancies in the AICF, Chauhan said: "The general body has to discuss and decide how it has to be done. The bye-laws do not provide for co-option of office bearers." The AICF currently has only five elected office bearers as the electoral nominations of the 23 contesting candidates were rejected by the Returning Officer as invalid since they had not filed the papers in person as prescribed in the National Sports Development Code 2011.

As a result, the entire rival camp was disqualified obviating the need for the polls.

The new office bearers of AICF are President Ajay H. Patel, Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, Treasurer Naresh Sharma, Joint Secretary M. Arun Singh and Vice President Vipnesh Bharadwaj.

The election has been challenged in the Madras High Court by the rival camp.

On the issue of re-admitting players, who had been earlier banned by the AICF without insisting on apology letters Chauhan said: "It was decided to re-admit them without insisting on apology letters at the December 22 meeting. Now, it will be done." "It is going to be a new AICF that will be truly player friendly. There will be a total revamp of the policies to be player friendly," Chauhan said.

According to him, the AICF will become 'zero lawyer fee' body as huge sums of money are being spent on litigation.

Queried whether the AICF would withdraw its appeal with National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the Competition Commission of India's (CCI) order Chauhan said: "The general body will discuss and decide on that.

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 amounts to restraints that are 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 non-compliance of such undertaking will result in banning of players and removal of their Elo ratings, create entry barriers, foreclose competition and restrict opportunities available to chess players.

The CCI also imposed a penalty of Rs 6,92,350 on the AICF for infringing the provisions of Section 4 of the Act.

The AICF got a stay order from the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the Rs 6,92,350 penalty imposed by the CCI vide its July 2018 order.

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