The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the elections for office bearers of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) to be held in Chennai on February 10 as originally announced by AICF President PR Venketrama Raja, an official said here.
"The court has ordered that the AICF general body to be held on February 10 in Chennai for the purpose of election new office bearers. The court has also said retired Supreme Court Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kallifula would be the returning officer," FIDE zone 3.7 President RM Dongre told IANS.
FIDE is the global chess body and Dongre, who belongs to the Raja camp, will be contesting for the AICF Secretary post.
According to Dongre, the last date for filing of nominations by the aspirants, as per the notice issued by Raja earlier, is January 30.
He said both the camps have issued the delegates list for the general body meeting.
"Delegates of 19 state associations are in support of Raja," Dongre said.
The AICF has split into two factions -- one led by President Raja and the other by Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan -- who will be standing for re-election.
The core issue of the case in court was which of the AICF general body meetings, and the decisions taken therein, are valid.
The Raja camp argued that the decision taken at the general body meeting convened by the AICF President in Chennai on December 14, 2019, announcing elections on February 10, 2020, was valid.
On the other hand, the Chauhan camp argues that the decisions taken at the general body in Bhopal calling for elections on February 9, 2020, in Ahmedabad was valid.
The Raja camp said the Bhopal meeting was called mainly to discuss issues concerning the Bengal Chess Association (BCA).
"Now, the date (February 10) and the venue of the elections (Chennai) have been frozen by the court. We don't see any more major hurdles in the conduct of the elections," Dongre said.
In chess game terms, Tuesday's development was like Raja gaining a solid advantage by having two of his rooks on the seventh rank against his rival Chauhan. A rook on the seventh rank is generally a disadvantage for a player and has to defend the attack on the player's King if it is on the eighth rank.
Chauhan, however, said he will be fighting back.
"The Madras High Court order has gone against us. I have not seen the order. We will appeal against the order in the higher court," Chauhan told IANS.