It is a great moment of pride for every Indian! For the 1st time, India will be hosting the prestigious World Youth Chess Championship 2019. Organised under the aegis of the All-India Chess Federation by the All Marathi Chess Association, a total of over 65 chess playing nations and 700+ players will be competing for 6 World Youth Championship Crowns.
DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter got a rare opportunity for an exclusive interview with the Honourable Minister, Dr. Parinay Fuke who heads the All Marathi Chess Association – the main organising body of the World Youth Chess Championship. In addition to leading AMCA, Dr. Fuke is also Minister of Maharashtra State for PWD, Forest & Tribal Development. Through his extremely busy schedule, he always finds time to promote chess & related activities.
We were able to get rich insights into the current state of Chess in India along with the reasons why Dr. Fuke decided to support a sport that is slowly gaining popularity in India. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
Thank you Dr. Fuke for taking out the time to speak about the World Youth Chess Championship organised by AMCA.
(Smiles) Not at all. In fact, it is good that more and more people will learn about chess & the World Youth Chess Championship from your blogzine.
Sir, Chess originated in India however, it has not gained as much momentum as other sports like e.g. Cricket. What are the efforts that the Ministry is putting in to ensure that Chess gets its due recognition in India?
(Takes a deep breath, his face glowing with pride) This is a great honour for India as we are bringing Chess back home by hosting the prestigious ‘World Youth Chess Championship’ (WYCC) in Mumbai from October 1st to 13th 2019. More than 700 chess players from about 65 chess playing nations have already confirmed their participation. It is indeed a matter of great pride for India.
Six world crowns are at stake and I am confident that our Indian chess players will surely bring laurels and inspire more and more kids to pursue chess.
As regards to popularising chess as a sport, we are planning to start ‘chess in schools’ movement across Maharashtra. In fact, we intend to initiate chess as a subject in schools. You may be knowing that in Marathi, Chess is called ‘Buddhi Bal’ (strength of the mind), and if children learn the ability to build their intellectual strength, I am sure that they will be better prepared to face life’s challenges.
What are the special arrangements that your team is making to ensure that international participants feel comfortable and safe?
(Pauses to take a deep breath & continues) A lot of planning and thinking has gone into the successful execution of this world championship. The organising committee of WYCC under the captainship of Tournament Director, Ravindra Dongre has been working tirelessly to ensure that every detail is paid attention to.
Care has been taken to ensure that players & representatives of each participating nation are given requisite administrative support from all authorities of the government. The WYCC team intends to practice, ‘Atiti Devo Bhava’ so that each member goes back with happy memories about India & its rich heritage.
The WYCC team chose the venue, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre, keeping in mind it’s proximity to the international airport.
The State & Central government have been extremely supportive in extending help to ensure the safety and security of all the international guests.
What is your message to all parents and schools so that they actively promote CHESS?
(Smiles slowly & sits up straight)
Chess is a sport that improves concentration, focus & memory. It sharpens a child’s intelligence & trains them to be Champions Of Life. I urge parents to encourage their children to take up Chess as a hobby & watch it cultivate into a passion as your child excels in academics & the sport.
My appeal to all school principals is to accept our proposal of including chess in their curriculum and give the same encouragement as they give to other sports as well.
Also, the sports clubs across the state need to take lead in promoting chess. I am sure that there is enough talent which goes unnoticed needs to take centre-stage.
Sir, are there any government schemes/policies that are present or in the pipeline to promote chess as a sport in India?
(Smiles, takes a deep breath & continues) After 2013, the Shiv Chhatrapati Awards was stalled for the chess category. However, in 2018 due to the perseverance of AMCA and senior players of Maharashtra, 19 players received this prestigious award. This year too, 7 players were felicitated with the coveted award. We are trying our best to convince the government to encourage and popularise chess.
In closing, do you have a message the participants of World Youth Chess Championship 2019?
(Gives a warm smile & says) My best wishes to all the 700+ players who will represent their respective nations to make their best moves and enjoy the hospitality of India. We welcome you all with open arms and will ensure that you will all go back with fond memories and cherish it for a lifetime.
Do let me know your views on this interview and the current state of Chess as a sport in India. We will get the Hon. Minister or the WYCC team to answer relevant questions.
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