In the first-ever hybrid chess tournament, Bhutanese chess players competed against players from New Jersey in the United States of America. A hybrid tournament is a format where the games are played online but the participants are physically present in public places. The two-day tournament which concluded today is to strengthen the chess community in the country by fostering connections with chess enthusiasts in the United States.
Thirteen Bhutanese players played against ten players from the Westfield Chess Club in New Jersey. The Bhutanese participants gathered at the Royal University of Bhutan, creating an atmosphere of shared enthusiasm and excitement.
“We are expecting significant growth and development in the field of chess in Bhutan. This is the first-ever hybrid tournament and I think it will open up pathways for future tournaments as well,” said Dechen Dorji of Bhutan Chess Federation.
During the two-day tournament, Bhutan achieved victory in seven out of 39 games against the New Jersey Westfield Chess Club.
Regardless of the outcome, participants emphasized that the tournament was an invaluable experience.
“I think they are far better than us, but I don’t necessarily believe that we are lagging behind. Observing their play and competing with them is encouraging and boosts our confidence,” said Amrit Adhikari, a participant.
“It was challenging to play against players from outside Bhutan, but we hope for more such opportunities in the future as it is a fantastic learning experience,” said Lhundrup Minjur Dorji, a participant.
“I wish the Bhutan Chess Federation organises such tournaments more frequently. It would be a great opportunity for young talents,” said Sidanth Bhandari, another participant.
Alexander Hu, a key organiser of the tournament and a chess advocate said he wants to promote chess as a global game and bring people together through it.
With this tournament, I just wanted to bring people together through chess because I want this to be a global game. And the tournament itself went great, it went smoother than expected. I think this will be a great thing for all of us, introducing the US players to Bhutan and the world. This will strengthen the global community.”
Looking ahead, the organisers hope to make the tournament an annual event.
Karma Samten Wangda
Edited by Sonam Pem