Chennai: With India’s Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Priyanka Nutakki getting expelled from the FIDE World Junior Chess Championship underway in Italy, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) may come out with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for team manager, coach and players travelling overseas, a senior chess official said.
With an ELO rating of 2,326, 20-year-old Nutakki from Andhra Pradesh was found with a pair of earbuds — a banned item in chess tournaments — in her jacket pocket during a routine check.
It was an unfortunate end to Nutakki’s campaign, which was progressing well in the tournament, scoring four points in five rounds.
She had won her sixth-round game against Govhar Beydullayeva when the tournament officials carried out the routine check.
“While there is no indication of foul play on her part, earbuds are strictly forbidden at the playing hall. Carrying these devices during a game is a violation of fair-play policies, and it is penalised with the loss of the game and expulsion from the tournament,” FIDE said.
The point scored by Nutakki in Round 6 has been awarded to her rival, Beydullayeva.
The tournament’s Appeals Committee reconfirmed the expulsion decision on an appeal filed by the Indian delegation.
Nevertheless, one question that remains unanswered is why the players were not checked before entering the tournament hall. If the checking was done, how did the earbuds escape detection?
“Nutakki is not a novice. She knew the rules with regard to banned items. Even in India, similar rules are followed. Certainly, it was an unintended mistake on her part to have the earbuds in her jacket pocket,” a senior chess administrator told IANS preferring anonymity.
“Perhaps this is a lesson and maybe a guideline for the team coach, manager and players who will be drafted by the AICF after this episode,” the official added.
Should not the coach or the manager instruct or remind the players about the banned items and the dos and dont’s before they enter the playing hall?
“There is nothing to be done daily. Players are not permitted to carry any electronic devices, not even a pen, while eye contact with other players/trainers is not permitted when a game is in progress. Anything that could be an accessory which could facilitate any external help while the game is in progress is not permitted, such as carrying any chess material, printed or hand-written, use of scoresheets for unplayed moves etc. These are basic rules of chess,” a senior Grandmaster told IANS not wishing to be named.
He added: “The team manager would want all players to meet outside the playing hall and enter it together. But the players are not inclined to do that.”
According to him, it was Nutakki’s absentmindedness that cost her hugely.
In a statement, the two Indian team coaches — GM Swayams Mishra and Kavitha J.E. — said: “In Round 6 of World Juniors, Priyanka Nutakki kept the (pair of) earbuds in her jacket, she forgot to remove it before coming to the tournament hall. Hence, she was removed from the tournament.”
As mentioned in the FIDE report, there weren’t any indications of foul play. However, the decision was that she cannot be part of the tournament anymore, the statement said.
“It was a very unfortunate incident, but we respect the decision and agree that everyone has to abide by the rules,” they said.
By:- Venkatachari Jagannathan