Chess federations: the re-invention game
I don’t know much about the All Indian Chess Federation (AICF) , but if it is anything like the CFC, then most of its elected officials are re-cycled old hacks with long histories of scandals, intrigue and failure behind them. It appears that this federation has been very active in recent times earning a reputation for provoking controversy Just do a google search on Indian chess affairs to see what I mean.
A rival chess federation was even created at one point, though it’s effect was short lived. The AICF is sometimes criticized for promoting the game at the expense of its strongest players. The well publicized case of GM Gupta last year is only one such example. The AICF constitution denies its members any real democratic rights and prevents them from criticizing the federation in the media–in any way–by threat of explusion, suspension or worse. Honest criticism is seen as being ‘detrimental’ to the interests of the AICF.
Probably with an eye towards improving its poor public image, a recent meeting of the AICF decided to make a big thing about ‘significant’ constitutional changes to the AICF’s way of working. Ofcourse, we all know that you can not teach an old dog new tricks and so we should not be surprised to learn that most of it was just cosmetic and will change absolutely nothing in the way the federation works.
But some of the changes are really quite hilarious and gave me a chuckle or two. For example, to help reduce the average age of the old hacks that seem to accumulate in the federation’s leadership, it was decided to set a ceiling on how old you can be to occupy the office of president, treasurer or secretary: 70 years of age!
The thing is, in India the LIFE EXPECTANCY is 60 years…that is like setting an age ceiling on employable commercial pilots at 99. Would you want to fly in a plane that has a pilot connected to a life-support apparatus? Worse still, only 4% of India’s 1.2 billion populace are above the age of 65…
One more chuckle that almost saw me roll on the floor was this: to limit the number of years any chess politico can serve in elected office. An honourable idea, no doubt–we all can agree on this sentiment–for what better way to limit the damage that can be heaped on any chess community by eye-bulging fantics than by setting a limit to term in office!
How many years did the AICF decide was the limit: 12 years! TWELVE years! An eternity in terms of the life of a national chess federation…well done! Could you imagine being stuck with Van Dusen as CFC president for 12 long years?
In anycase, the entire article on the AICF’s constitutional change can be found here, for those interested enough: http://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/article695293.ece
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS