Thinley Namgay

Four Bhutanese chess players reached Dibrugarh, Assam yesterday to participate in the seventh Kurukshetra Open Chess Tournament which begins today.

The players left Gelephu on December 22, on a train from the New Bongaigaon junction in Assam (60km from Gelephu) and reached Dibrugarh yesterday.

Kurukshetra Open Chess Tournament is organised by “Guardians of Greater Dibrugarh Chess Players” in association with DHSK College and Dibrugarh District Chess Association.

Organisers officially invited Bhutan Chess Federation to participate with 10 players offering free accommodations in a star hotel, but the

Bhutanese Chess Federation could not afford to finance it. One of the senior chess players, Wangey, is funding the team.

A six-day tournament will be played under FIDE laws of Chess on the

Swiss system of 10 rounds with a playtime of 90 minutes over the board with an increment of 30 seconds per move from the beginning.

One of the participants and the country’s prominent chess player Binod Rai, 30, said, “Our team will continue participating in any such games outside Bhutan.”

However, he said it is challenging to get sponsors.

He said he is honoured to play in another tournament in India representing Bhutan. “All are aware chess is very competitive in

India. Yet this is also a great opportunity for me to increase my FIDE rating.”

“Miracle doesn’t happen in chess, so I would be playing with what I have practised so far,” said Binod.

Binod Rai said chess players are growing in the country but there is no budget for international matches and Bhutan has to wait for another country to sponsor.  “Only then can we play.”

Kurukshetra Open Chess Tournament will be one of the most important chess tournaments for Bhutanese after the Sheikh Russell Cup held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in October.