The National Under-25 Chess Championship in Jammu that had 109 players from 22 states competing was cut short as a precautionary measure after the Union Government announced scraping of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union terriroties, The Times of India reported on Monday.

The Championship was supposed to take place from August 1-7 but given the uncertainty in the region following the Centre’s announcement, organisers reduced the nine-round meet to seven rounds.

Organisers were forced to make immediate arrangements for the transportation of parents and the players from the state as soon as the decision was announced on August 5.

“We got information from local government sources on the night of August 4 about the possibility of section 144 of CrPC being imposed. Tourists had been evacuated the day before from Kashmir. But Jammu was okay till then,” All J&K Chess Association president Atul Kumar Gupta was quoted as saying by the paper.

It is learned the organisers wanted to conduct two rounds at the Delhi Public School in Jammu, one on August 5 and the other on the following day.

But since Section 144 was imposed in Jammu early morning on August 5, Gupta convinced the players to play the seventh round that morning itself after consulting the All India Chess Federation.

“It was a unique situation as section 144 bars more than five people from assembling at a single location and we were nearly 150 (players and parents),” Gupta said.

The prize distribution ceremony was held shortly after the end of the matches and players were safely escorted to their respective hotel rooms and given adequate time to pack up.

“We arranged for vehicles to drive them to the airport or railway station as our venue, a school complex, was about 2-3 km away from the city,” Gupta concluded.