Chennai : Contrary to the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the decision of the Krishnagiri District Chess Association (KDCA) to take disciplinary action against some youngsters for playing in an unofficial tournament has infuriated many chess players.
Messages on WhatsApp have been flowing thick and fast between the players within and outside India condemning the KDCA's proposed action.
KDCA secretary S. Yuvachandiran had sent a message listing the names of some players who had participated in an unofficial chess tournament in Hosur in Tamil Nadu on January 20.
In that message, Yuvachandiran had also mentioned that a decision was taken to take disciplinary action against the players as per the guidelines of the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association (TNSCA) at an emergency meeting of the office bearers.
The KDCA's decision, coming after the CCI's order against the All India Chess Federation (AICF) to amend its rules to remove its restrictive practices, made the players and chess lovers furious.
On July 12 last year, the CCI held that the undertaking prescribed by the AICF for players regarding non-participation in events not authorised by it amounts to restraints that are in the nature of exclusive distribution and refusal to deal as defined in Section 3(f) and 3(4)(d) of the Competition Act 2002.
The CCI said the non-compliance of such undertaking will result in the banning of players and removal of their Elo rating, create entry barriers, foreclose competition and restrict opportunities available to chess players.
In December 2018, convinced that the AICF has deliberately not complied with its July 2018 order, the CCI had ordered the issuance of a notice to the chess body as to why punitive action should not be taken under Section 42 of the Competition Act.
Speaking to IANS earlier this month, global chess body FIDE's Vice-President and chess Grand Master Nigel Short had said that if players are banned for playing chess and several state chess federations are de-recognised by the AICF then warning bells toll about something being amiss.
Queried about the KDCA's decision TNSCA's Secretary Stephen Balasamy. P told IANS: "It is the decision of KDCA. I am not aware of that and we are not connected with that decision. KDCA may be affiliated to TNSCA, but Yuvachandiran has to answer."
Faced with flak from the chess players' fraternity, KDCA officials later seemed to be backtracking on the issue.
"We had held the district selection tournament to select players to play in the Tamil Nadu Open tournament. It is an important tournament for a chess player. Many of the players we had expected to play in the district selection tournament had participated in a different tournament," Yuvachandiran told IANS.
"I had sent the message as a warning note. We have no plan to take any disciplinary action against the young players," he added.
He said he was not aware of the CCI order against the AICF.