Madras, April 9: With the 44th Chess Olympiad scheduled to be held in Mahabalipuram near here and Tamil Nadu being a strong chess playing state, chess players in the state are very surprised.
Because they are not finding the Tamil Nadu women’s team participating in the 19th MPL Women’s National Team Chess Championship-2022, currently underway at Jalgaon in Maharashtra.
“This is really news to me. I am surprised to learn that the women’s team is not playing in the national team championship,” a senior Tamil Nadu State Chess Association (TNSCA) official who prefers anonymity told IANS.
“The state is home to seven Female Grandmasters and 13 Female International Masters. Even in the non-title category, the state has good players with decent ELO ratings,” another chess official told IANS.
Both said that it is strange why the TNSCA did not send a team for the National Selection Championship.
“Representing the state in the national championship qualifies a player for employment in the government sector,” an official added.
He said if the top players who had qualified for the state championship have declined, then the next one in order could have been sent.
The team championship cannot be described as weak, as several International Masters (IM R.Vaishali, also WGM, Soumya Swaminathan, Karavade Eesha and Mohota Nisha), WGM (Divya Deshmukh, Gomes Mary Ann), WIM (Arpita Mukherjee, Priyanka Nutakki, K.Priyanka) are seen in action.
A game against them for budding Tamil Nadu players would have been of great value, the chess players said.
By the way, two players, Vaishali and K.Priyanka, from Tamil Nadu are playing in the National Teams Championship for their employers, the Airports Authority of India.
Interestingly, the Tamil Nadu men’s team is competing in the tournament.
TNSCA secretary Fr Stephen Balasamy was not available for comment when contacted by IANS.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)