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Sponsors drop city GM meet

Calcutta: Just at a time when the Indian chess fraternity was thinking that things are looking better, it has suffered a big blow.

Goodricke, sponsors of the country’s biggest and only international-level tournament to be held on a regular annual basis over the last 13 years, has decided to withdraw its patronage of the event this year.

Financial crunch is the reason, informed Goodricke managing director K.S. David Thursday, adding that his company might be back sponsoring the tournament in the future if things get better.

Organisers have been formally informed, said David, though people concerned maintained they are yet to hear anything formally.

“The entire tea industry is going through a bad time. We spend to the tune of around Rs 30 lakh for this tournament each year and if we continue doing the same at this hour of crisis, we will be sending a wrong signal to the industry and everybody concerned,” David told The Telegraph Thursday.

“Our patronage of the Goodricke National Chess Academy (GNCA) will continue irrespective of our decision to part with the tournament,” he added.

The company spends something in the region of Rs 6 to 8 lakh per year on the academy.

He informed that Goodricke will refrain from sponsoring any sporting event for the while, though it is financing the East India amateur golf meet which got underway at RCGC Thursday.

“That’s a smaller amount (about Rs 2.5 lakh) and moreover, it had been cleared some time back.”

An official of the All India Chess Federation, also related to the GNCA said it was a big blow to their plans. “We will meet the MD sometime next week and try to persuade him, but we are yet to receive any letter to this effect.”

“We were planning to hold this year’s meet either in March or in September and super GM Alexander Morozevich was among the top stars to have expressed his desire to take part,” said the official.

GM Dibyendu Barua sounded disappointed by the news. “No doubt it’s a big blow to all Indian chess players since this was the only quality annual tournament for us from where we could collect GM and IM norms,” he said from Jamshedpur. “Our youngsters are sure to feel its absence.”

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