Evicting 11-year-old from chess tourney ’emotional abuse’

Chennai, Oct 21 : Evicting a 11-year-old boy midway from a chess tournament is an emotional harassment or abuse of the child which may have a psychological impact not only on that particular child but also on other children watching the scene, said a psychologist.

At a time when India is hosting the World Junior Chess Championship in Delhi, 11-year-old schoolboy Karthick Rahul was barred from playing in a chess tournament midway by an official of the Tirunelveli District Chess Development Association (TDCDA) in Tamil Nadu on Saturday, which raised a storm in the sporting community.

Chess players and international chess arbiters have demanded that All India Chess Federation (AICF) accept responsibility for such happenings at its affiliated units.

They also said the child could be a collateral damage due to the political agendas of the chess managers in India and the latter is guilty of child neglect/abuse.

“Such an episode could be a lifetime trauma for a child,” India’s second Grand Master in chess and Arjuna Awardee Dibyendu Barua told IANS.

“Evicting the child while playing a game is an emotional harassment or abuse. It might impact the children directly affected and those who had seen this episode. Eleven years is the spurt of adolescence. It is at this stage that children try to build competencies,” city based consultant psychologist Chitra Aravind told IANS.

She said: “It is like a sense of rejection. Such an episode may be at the back of the mind of the child when he plays a chess tournament. For other children who had seen his eviction and later came to know, it is a vicarious learning and have an impact on them.”

When told that the boy seems to have taken the episode in his stride, Aravind said: “Perhaps that shows his confidence and assertiveness. But one has to see him after two or three days. If the same assertiveness is there then it is fine.”

The one-day state level chess tournament for under 10/13/15 boys and girls was organised at Sadakathullah Appa College in Pallayamkottai in Tirunelveli district under the aegis of TDCDA on Saturday.

Terming the eviction of Rahul while playing in the tournament as “absolutely ridiculous”, Barua said: “The AICF should take necessary action. It should apologise to the child, his parents and also send necessary instructions to the state and district chess associations.”

“A small boy can’t be removed from the tournament midway. He was allowed to play in the first round. It’s the decision of the boy’s parent or his coach to field him in a tourney. He can’t be held responsible for that,” K.R. Seshadri, International Chess Arbiter, told IANS.

Speaking to IANS earlier, global chess body FIDE’s Vice-President and Grand Master Nigel Short had said if players were banned for playing and several state federations were de-recognised by the AICF then warning bells toll about something being amiss.

“I had paid the necessary entry fees and left my son at the tournament venue. I came to know that when he was playing in the first round that B. Paulkumar, TDCDA Secretary, barred him on the grounds that he had played in a tournament that was not recognised by the AICF/Tamil Nadu Chess Association and the District Association,” K. Murugesh Babu had told IANS over phone.

According to Babu, the official asked his son to write an apology letter for playing in an unrecognised tournament and also give an undertaking that he will not play in such tournaments in the future.

“The AICF’s stand on not penalising a player for playing in tournaments not recognised by it or its affiliated units is nothing but farce,” said a chess player.

“The AICF is insisting on an apology letter from me and others for re-registering us as players. However the chess body has not clarified to me which of its rules was disobeyed,” said Gurpreet Pal Singh, one of the players who had filed and won the case in CCI against AICF.

Chess players and arbiters are of the view that heads should roll at the state and district level.

/IANS

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