Interview with Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary (AICF)

Citius, Altius, Fortius in Latin or quite simply Swifter, Stronger, Higher in English conveys the Olympic motto. Inspired by this, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) has began the preparations for the 44th Chess Olympiad on a massive scale after being allotted the Chess Olympiad barely four months before the commencement date. Things have been moving in whirlwind fashion since then with infrastructure and money matters falling in line. Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary AICF in his inimitable dynamic style is leading from the front and is spearheading the preparations which have started in full swing. Here he shares his intentions and aspirations for the biggest extravaganza ever in India


Q. Are four months enough to get ready for this Chess Olympiad?

Chauhan : Four months are like eight months since we intend to leave no stone unturned and work day and night to make it  one of the best ever Chess Olympiads. Then enthusiasm and determination by the AICF team is infectious and everyone is trying to put their best foot forward. In fact, I have moved bag and baggage to Chennai where we have set up our office and intend to function from here for the next four months.

Q. India has not hosted any World level Olympiad so far any apprehensions?

Chauhan: Strong intentions, a good team, selfless effort should translate into good organization. I have been involved with the Delhi International event which ranks amongst the biggest events in the World. We started with a meagre prize fund of 3.5 lakhs in 2002 and it has enhanced 15 times in as many years.  We intend to use all our experience plus more to ensure that the Olympiad is a grand success. In last one year since we took charge of the federation, we haven’t let the pandemic affect our functioning. We organized online Arbiter refresher courses and developed more than 500 arbiters. Starting at the grassroot level, we created a pool of trained arbiters and organizers. We organized about 28 national championships, enhanced prize money for tournaments. We created welfare funds, engaged with sponsors successfully. We also took chess to unexplored or not so popular destinations and are strengthening our chess in school program. We conceptualised a few new tournaments like the Chess league. On hindsight, you could say that In a way we were preparing for this big one.

Q. Have special arrangements made keeping the pandemic in mind?

Chauhan: This is one aspect to which we have given lot of thought and ensured best medical facilities for the players and will also have a fully equipped ambulance at the venue and official hotels associated with the Olympiad.


Q. What are your expectations from the Olympiad?

Chauhan: In broader terms improve chess in numbers, qualitatively and quantity wise, be it simply in increasing the number of people playing or improving the playing strength. I am targeting that at least five crore people play chess, more money comes into chess, more power to Indian chess.