Grandmaster RB Ramesh on Tuesday resigned as the chief selector of the All India Chess Federation alleging interference from warring officials of rival factions.
AICF secretary Vijay Deshpande accused Bharat Singh Chauhan’s interference of leading to Ramesh’s resignation. However, the AICF has not accepted his resignation. Ramesh, a former Commonwealth champion, said he found it difficult to continue as the selection panel head due to the constant meddling in team selection from federation officials.
“I have quit as chief selector of the AICF because of interference in team selection and the uncertainty prevailing in the federation...It was also getting too complicated,” Ramesh told PTI.
He said the team had been selected as per norms laid down by the AICF. The other selectors were International Master Lanka Ravi and FIDE Master Ashwini Tiwari.
Ramesh said he had picked the squad going by the rating of January to March as no tournaments were held after that owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
The factional feud in the federation had cropped up again when the groups – one headed by President PR Venketrama Raja and the other by secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan – had named separate teams for the Online Chess Olympiad scheduled from July 22.
However, the two factions then appeared to reach a common ground and named similar squads. The Raja and Chauhan factions have been at loggerheads over various issues. Deshpande said Ramesh was entrusted to select the Indian team for the first Online Chess Olympiad, which is scheduled to be held between July 22 and August 30.
“Acting on the suggestion of the Selection Committee, PRV Raja, the President of All India Chess Federation has forwarded the list of players to represent India to the World Chess Federation,” he said.
“However, the rival group led by Bharat Singh Chauhan, who claims to be the Secretary of AICF despite his removal by the President, insisted on including the name of a Delhi player.
“When reminded by Ramesh that the player did not qualify on technical grounds, Chauhan forwarded the confidential mails directly to the player concerned,” he added.
Deshpande said Ramesh’s resignation has not been accepted. “The resignation of Ramesh is unfortunate, but AICF has not accepted his resignation considering his huge contribution for Indian chess. AICF has never interfered in selection committee’s decision and ignore Bharat Singh as he is no Secretary of AICF,” he added.
Chauhan said veterans Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy have confirmed their participation in the Olympiad.
Teams: Men: Viswanathan Anand and Vidit Gujrathi, Reserves: P Harikrishna and Aravindh Chithambaram; Women: Koneru Humpy, D Harika, Reserves: Bhakti Kulkarni and R Vaishali; junior boys: Nihal Sarin; Reserve: R Praggnanandhaa; junior girls: Divya Deshmukh; Reserve: Vantika Agarwal.