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'India to become best chess playing nation in next two years'
Courtesy their great performances, Indian contingent at the ongoing Commonwealth Chess Championships, Chennai looks all set to win the title. Buoyed by the success, Bharat Singh, President of Commonwealth Chess Association feels India will become the best chess playing nation in two years time.

THE ONGOING Commonwealth Chess Championships at Chennai has witnessed some great performances by Indian chess players, who have a great chance of clinching the title. There is a strong contingent of Indian players, as compared to 60-70 foreigners, more than 350 Indians are participating.

Bharat Singh, President of Commonwealth Chess Association said, “Lalith Babu, the Grand Master from Andhra Pradesh has got five points from 5 matches.” He is not the only player who has come up with such performances, as Grandmaster S.P. Sethuraman also has five points along with host number of Indians, who have looked equally good in the competition.

When chess competitions are held outside Inida, there are very few chess players who represent India, in spite of having quality chess players, hence, it is such competition, where these unknown players need to stand up and be counted for future international competitions. Mr Singh said, “This competition will provide ample opportunity for Indian chess players.” When asked why there are few world class players in the tournament, he said that they (foreigners) do not participate in competitions, where less money is offered. “There are 10 international Grand Masters in this competition as well. In the next competition, which is going to be held at Kolkata, around 35 Grand Masters are expected to turn up,” he added. The total prize money for this competition runs up to Rs 10, 00, 000.

Chess may not be a popular sport in many of the Indian states, but it does not hold the same when it comes to Tamil Nadu. The state which has a popular chess culture, and not a surprise it boasts of ten Grand Masters.

Mr Singh believes that the future of Indian chess looks very bright and expects the country to be the best chess playing nation in the coming two years. India is ranked third at present and has a total of around 29 Grand Masters.

But, in a country, where cricket rules the roost, it is not going to be easy for the sport to develop and reach immediate heights, but Mr Singh does not like chess being compared to cricket. “It is unfair to compare chess with cricket, as cricket is only played among 10 nations and chess among almost 175 countries,” he informed.

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