'I'll prove myself a good chess player'

'I'll prove myself a good chess player'

Many of us blame the government and its policies for our society’s ills, but few have the courage to actually challenge it and show it reason. A young sportsperson, Chetna Karnani has taken the tougher route and set a new example for the nation.

The 17-year-old filed a case against Delhi University for making her run to prove herself a good chess player fit for sports quota admission, and the High Court has now directed the varsity to ‘reformulate’ its rules for chess players like herself.

Though Chetna couldn’t get a seat in DU herself for the Bench ruled that, “No doubt it is physical fitness which leads to mental fitness. However, it should be examined as to whether for a person playing games like chess what level of physical fitness is appropriate.” However, Chetana’s petition is set to benefit many indoor-games players in years to come.

Chetna has made her point but is still disheartened, “DU was my dream varsity. I had applied for English Honours and was very sure of getting in through the sports quota. I have been playing chess for the past seven years now and a part of national-level tournaments too. I never thought someone would ask me to run to prove my chess skills.”

As per DU’s guidelines for sports quota admissions, set this year, a candidate has to clear a standing broad jump of 1.65 meters (boys) and 1.15 meters (girls), 100 meters race or walk in five minutes (boys) and six minutes (girls), and in addition 50 meters dash in 8 seconds (boys) and 9 seconds (girls). Debatably, these rules are applied to all sportspersons including chess and carom players, shooters and archers. Chetna, being obese, couldn’t clear these.

She says, “It is plain logic that a game like chess has nothing to do with running and hence I should not have been tested on those parameters. When I approached senior DU officials and failed to convince them, I went to court. In the meanwhile, I also enrolled myself at SOL (School of Open Learning) in the hope that at least the judges will see reason and get me a seat in DU. Now that the HC has closed that option for me, I have decided not waste a year and be content with SOL.”

Though disappointed, this courageous girl has, fortunately, not lost her love for chess. She informs us, “I picked up the game from my father and elder bother. Later on, the school chess club instilled a sense of seriousness about it in me. I went to Nagpur and Amritsar once to play for CBSE’s national chess tournaments. I also played with world champion Vishwanathan Anand four times when he came to my school for an NIIT sponsored programme. It was a dream come true.”

“This case, though ending in disappointment for me, is a milestone in my life. I’ll dedicate myself to chess even more now and strive to become like my idol Vishwanathan Anand.”

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