In my first article of this series- “A Spectacle”, I promised a piece on the journeys of the Pioneers of Indian chess, and here it is!
If I tell you, “You have two hands, one to help yourself, the second to help others”. It sounds very philosophical, right? On the other hand, if I say, “Helping others is the way we help ourselves” or that “We rise by lifting others” - now, this is something we would all be interested in.
However, there are very few gems who believe and work for the first quote. In a situation where you can't provide for yourself due to a lack of resources, would you get into a position where you can provide others with all they need? Because that is exactly what Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan, the honorable secretary of AICF did. He is currently also the Deputy President of the Asian Chess Federation and the Chairman of the Commonwealth Chess Association. Being a very determined and passionate chess player himself from the beginning, he dreamt of becoming a grandmaster. But he did not get enough grants and facilities that he needed to become one.
The situation back then was so unfortunate that once, he even had to spend time on his journey in a train’s toilet. Things did not turn out well for him. Therefore, he decided to help others chase their goals by bringing about a revolution in the community. With this aim in mind, he joined the AICF. Today, he has made chess a festival through this olympiad, widely celebrated across the nation.
He was the one who took on this opportunity of hosting an OLYMPIAD without wasting a single minute and took care of every little thing so that there were no loopholes. He also claims that the tournament has engaged a lot of non-chess players into the game and that will make a huge difference to chess in India specifically as the pre-olympiad and post-olympiad era.
Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan (Left) with the FIDE President Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich (Middle) and Dr. Sanjay Kapoor (Right) during the Chess Olympiad 2022
The same goes for the President of AICF, Dr. Sanjay Kapoor. In an interview with Youth Change, he admits that chess wasn’t very widely played in Uttar Pradesh. He made it his mission to accomplish that. Later, he ran for the Presidential candidate position and won by god's grace. He said that when his secretary asked him if they should go ahead with hosting the olympiad, he immediately said yes and the rest is history, how it has turned up to be one of the most remarkable olympiads. He also thanked the Tamil Nadu Government for guaranteeing them with $10 million in just 48 hours and it's been day and night of work since then. Not only the visitors but the event was commended by the FIDE (International Chess Federation), for India to have done it in a record time of four months.
He believes that as the year 1983 was a game changer for cricket in India, the 2022 Olympiad would prove to be the game changer for chess in India. He asks the youth, that is, our readers, to avoid video games and play chess, not only for yourself but also for the country.
With the sports culture growing all around the world, it is very essential to promote everybody who is interested in playing some or the other sport and make their nation proud!