Steel city loses chess clout - East Singhbhum fails to win key posts in state outfit polls

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 23.07.13
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East Singhbhum (read Jamshedpur) has been checkmated.

The district, which used to enjoy a vice-like grip on All Jharkhand Chess Association (AJCA), suffered a huge blow in the outfit’s office-bearers’ elections held in Ranchi on Sunday, with the two key posts of president and secretary being wrested from it. The implications are huge, as representatives from Jamshedpur have traditionally held these positions ever since the state outfit came into being in 2000.

The new equations — Ranchi’s Pradip Kumar Varma is president, while East Singhbhum District Chess Association dissidents Pritam Singh (now Hazaribagh) and Neeraj Kumar Mishra (now Dhanbad) are secretary and working president, respectively — suggest that henceforth, Jamshedpur will have little say in the matters of the game, which, many say, will be good for chess.

“It is the end of Jamshedpur’s hegemony over chess. Functionaries of the East Singhbhum chess unit were only interested in confining chess to JRD Tata Chess Complex. They were not interested in taking the game out of the city. But now things will change and chess will make steady progress across the state,” an official from Dumka said.

Mishra, Jharkhand’s lone International Master and Fide trainer, who felt stifled acting as secretary in the earlier state body (2009-13) headed by Nand Kumar Singh of East Singhbhum, said it was a new beginning for chess in Jharkhand. “I was reduced to a persona non grata in the state association. Nobody consulted me on key administrative decisions nor told me about meetings or governance matters. A group from Jamshedpur called the shots in the state body when Nand Kumar Singh was at the helm,” he added.

However, questions are being raised on how the new committee plans to arrange funds for various state and national championships if chess meets is completely taken out of Jamshedpur to teach the district outfit a lesson. Tata Steel usually sponsors the events held in the steel city.