The All India Chess Federation (AICF) will support five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand’s candidature for the post of the world body’s (FIDE) deputy president. Anand will be contesting for the post as part of incumbent FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich’s team.
Recently appointed AICF interim secretary, Vipnesh Bhardwaj clarified the federation’s stand on the matter, saying former secretary, Bharat Singh Chauhan has “always unquestionably supported Anand’s candidature”.
Bhardwaj’s statement comes after emails started circulating recently stating that Chauhan is the right candidate instead of Anand.
Though the sources of the emails are yet to be established, AICF office bearers condemned such rumours and said a police complaint will be filed to nail the culprits.
“This is a ploy by the opposing members who are actually not for chess but out to damage the reputation of not only AICF, but also our country,” Bhardwaj said in a statement after taking charge as secretary on the High Court’s order.
“This is the first time ever that the Indian team has a sponsorship of Rs 2 crore for the Olympiad, and clearly the opposition is not happy with our work that has been done so far,” he added.
The email trails claimed that Chauhan, who was recently barred by the Delhi High Court from functioning as AICF secretary, has been eying the key post in FIDE elections. But Bhardwaj as well Chauhan denied the allegation.
Chauhan highlighted how the AICF was the first federation to support Anand’s candidature as deputy president.
As per FIDE guidelines, one federation can nominate only one person and it cannot be withdrawn post nomination, and Chauhan said the AICF is aware of the rules and wholeheartedly supports Anand’s candidature.
Chauhan, the event director of the Olympiad, which is set to be held in Chennai in less than two months, said, “Anand is a legend, and his decision to work for FIDE is a welcome boon for the world of chess and especially for India. Why would we be pitting against him… my aim has always been for the benefit of the game of chess in my country. I am for chess and for chess players always!
“This (emails) is a cheap trick to divert the attention and to bring disrepute to our country. We love Anand, we worship Anand, and to me personally he is like family.”
The Delhi High Court, acting on a complaint, had ruled against Chauhan a few days ago that stalled his activities as AICF secretary. However, the order is unlikely to have a bearing on the preparations for the Chess Olympiad — the biggest sporting event to be held in India with 188 countries expected to participate.