Indian players sweep top spots at India-Bhutan Chess Championship

The three-day India-Bhutan Chess Championship played at the Bhutan Olympic Committee concluded yesterday. Organised by the Bhutan Chess Federation and the India-Bhutan Foundation, 26 participants, 20 from Bhutan and six from India took part in it.

The championship ended with the players from India securing the top three positions and also winning the Best Youth Player award.

However, the organisers of the tournament emphasised the impact of the tournament on the development of chess in Bhutan.

Thinley Pelden Dorji, the president of the Bhutan Chess Federation said, “What happened in the past was that the federation was not active. There were not many activities. But in the last two or three years, our activities have increased. It is important to play chess and learn chess, but most importantly it is the practice. This is one of the objectives of the Bhutan Chess Federation.” 

“My basic task is initially to make them knowledgeable because I’ve seen that some of the Bhutanese players are very talented but they don’t have the grammatical knowledge, they simply have raw talent in them. So, my task is to impart basic grammatical knowledge which they should have. And through tournaments, they will become sharper in their response and psychology,” said Atanu Bothra, the National Coach with the Bhutan Chess Federation.

Bhakta Bhadur Mongar, the highest-ranked chess player in Bhutan with over a decade of experience, also shared how chess in Bhutan has changed in recent years.

Bhakta Bhadur Mongar said, “I think tournaments like this, especially for the chess federation, are very important. In the past, we didn’t have activities like this because of which, there was less engagement from the youth who have great potential. Because of such tournaments, we have got a lot of youth with potential who are much stronger than older players. So, organising such tournaments will groom young players and improve their performance.”

It was also the first time that the players of the two countries are facing each other. They shared their experience of the tournament.

Rishansh Pandey, a chess player from India said, “The tournament has been amazing for me. There are a lot of beginners but there’s a first time for everything.”

Asha Huang Limboo, a chess player from Bhutan said, “When you play with players from outside the country, we get new knowledge from the tricks and tactics they use. Moreover, since it is a friendly match, we get to be friends and build a relationship.”

“I would love to come to Bhutan again. I am looking forward to coming here if there are tournaments coming up.  I also am looking forward to Bhutanese players coming to India for the many tournaments there,” said Ananya Bothra, another chess player from India.

The organisers said that there will be many more chess championships organised in both India and Bhutan. They said that the tournaments will serve as a platform to select Bhutanese players to represent Bhutan in the Chess Olympiad. Bhutan took part in the tournament twice. The 45th edition of the tournament will be held in Budapest in August, this year.

Karma Samten Wangda

Edited by Kipchu

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