Five Bhutanese men will represent Bhutan for the first time and participate at Chess Olympiad, 2014, in Norway this August.
This was announced at the wind-up of the three-day Premier National Chess Championship, 2014 yesterday. Bhutan Chess Federation (BCF) in collaboration with the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) and the department of youth and sports under the education ministry organised the championship.
The three-day event saw 51 participants of all ages, out of which 40 were male. The All India Chess Federation in collaboration with the World Chess Federation (FIDE) had funded the championship.
Chess Olympiad is a periodic “Chess tournament” in which teams from across the world compete against each other.
Meanwhile, the five top performers will soon be sent to Delhi, India for an intensive training program under an international grandmaster.
The international arbiter with the FIDE, Dharmendra Kumar said Bhutanese have great potential in chess.
“The first important aspect is the interest for the sport,” the arbiter said, adding that he had seen that interest in the players. “It is a positive sign for the Bhutanese chess.”
One of the five top select players, Binod Rai, 21, said the championship brought him his dream of representing the country.
“It is not about me playing anymore,” he said. “I will be representing my country and I am proud.”
Binod Rai is a class XII dropout without a job. He has won five times at regional chess competition and two times at the national level.
Secretary general with the BCF, Leki Dorji said the sport has evolved to a great extent from nothing, a decade ago. However, BCF is not yet a member with BOC.
“Although we can manage the technical side, budget is still a problem,” he said, and explained the federation has had hard times.
The secretary general, however said, BOC has signaled the federation of the membership.
The winners of the championship were awarded with cash prizes, while the participants were given FIDE identity card, which regard them as international chess players.