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FIDE makes urgent appeal to Canada to issue visas to players for Candidates

Canada is set to host one of the most prestigious chess tournaments from April 3-22 in Toronto, where five Indians, including two women players will also present their challenge.
Last Updated 02 March 2024, 07:26 IST

New Delhi: Raising a red flag over delay in issuance of visas to players competing in the prestigious Candidates event, international chess federation FIDE on Saturday enjoined Canada to process the applications at the earliest, saying there are 'grave concerns' over timely arrival of contenders.

Canada is set to host one of the most prestigious chess tournaments from April 3-22 in Toronto, where five Indians, including two women players will also present their challenge.

The event will determine the challengers for the World Champion title in both the Open and Women's Categories.

Prodigy R Praggnanandhaa, Vidit Gujrathi and Gukesh D have qualified for the eight-player, double round-robin men's tournament while R Vaishali and Koneru Humpy will compete in the women's event, which will be run simultaneously.

"Regrettably, players from various countries worldwide, who submitted their visa applications few months ago, have not yet received any updates on their status," FIDE wrote on X, drawing attention of the Canadian government on the issue.

"With only a month remaining till the FIDE Candidates Tournament, there are grave concerns about the timely arrival of the players to Toronto." India's five-time world champion and FIDE deputy president Viswanathan Anand re-tweeted the FIDE letter, tagging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) .

An All India Chess Federation (AICF) official confirmed to told PTI that none of the Indian has received visa.

"No, they have not got their visas yet. They had applied well on time and I hopefully it should be done. It is not such a big issue," said the official.

FIDE urged the Canadian government to urgently address the matter to avoid inconvenience to its players.

"Recognising the popularity of the game in the country, and its growing role in the chess world, we kindly ask the Canadian Government for support in urgently addressing this matter.

"Ensuring the safe and timely arrival of players is crucial for the success and integrity of the FIDE Candidates Tournament and for promoting Canada as a host of the most important chess tournament of the year, which will be followed by millions of spectators worldwide."

The winner of the men's event will take on defending champion, Ding Liren from China while his compatriot Ju Wenjun is current holder of the women's title.

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(Published 02 March 2024, 07:26 IST)

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