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Interview with Dr. Yukteshwar Kumar, Councilor in Bath (England).


Dr. Yukteshwar Kumar is a first parent to appear in the press-center when his son, Yuvraj Kumar (born 2005, rating 1455) was playing his first afternoon game… Besides being the Councilor in Bath, Dr.  Yukteshwar Kumar is a famous Indian sinologist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukteshwar_Kumar

  • Dear Dr. Yukteshwar Kumar, it is nice to see you here in Salobrena at the press office of the World championships. What has brought you here?
  • Good afternoon, thank you very much for the invitation to interview me at the beautiful venue in Spain. Here I am the head of the delegation of one-member English team. And that member is my son.
  • Why is the English delegation so small? There is nobody else besides your son.
  • I will be very honest with you. Sadly, the ECF (English chess federation) and its junior branch after changing the leadership, are not good. Similar to England we don’t see here in Salobrena the participants from many countries.
  • I can give you a very simple explanation. FIDE at this moment is organizing too many official tournaments and championships. Only recently before Salobrena there were 2 junior events: in Bratislava (European junior) and in Minsk (World Cadets). Next month there will be 2 different world junior championships in India (U-20 and U-18 and below categories). It is very expensive to send all the players to all the championships. That’s why many championships are not well attended by many countries which are not rich.
  • I know it is costly to play chess, I know it is expensive. But particularly in our country England there is absolutely no support from local governments. Although I try to do my best in my town Bath to support chess. But let’s return to our tournament… There are no English players not because they cannot afford to come, but because the information was not distributed among the potential players. Although, I am sure, many of them would love to come, since the tournament is not long, no pressure in school. And Spain is very close to England. In comparison to other countries England is a rich country, more players could have come here, but there was NO information. We have good players with potential who would love to come… This is a complete mess up by the ECF.
  • I understand. I hope the English chess federation will send the players to the world junior championships in India in October.
  • Yes, I am sure. World tournaments are attended by English players.
  • Thank you very much for the information. Let’s talk about the participation of your son. How is he doing?
  • He is doing fine. His main goal in life – not to be a professional chess player! He is a mathematician, you can google his name, he participated in different mathematical tournaments and Olympiads.
  • Here I had other players, some of them also like and good at mathematics and physics.
  • Yes, chess makes people intelligent. Take, for example, John Nunn.
  • Yes, I know, he is a doctor. And a very famous person.
  • True.
  • Now let’s move to another subject. Since you are a councilor in Bath, are you planning to do something to develop chess in England?
  • Yes, although I was elected only half a year ago, I had been a supporter of chess before. I donate money to the chess.
  • Excellent!
  • I am only part-time councilor, since my main job – China expert. Whatever money I get, I try to give some of them to chess. 2 months ago there was a tournament in Britain, I gave one chess book to every player.
  • Fantastic! I hope more people will follow your example!
  • I also asked my mayor of Bath to meet all good junior chess players. Mayor agreed and had held a reception…
  • Will chess tournaments come to Bath? May be, beginning with a rapid, weekend tournament… Then later a regular open. England doesn’t have enough good tournaments.
  • England has some good tournaments, like London Classic.
  • Still, I believe, it is below what England should have.
  • My son is doing fine here, he won 3 games yesterday. But his aim was to be in the list, it is his only 3rd international tournament. But now basically he wants to become a mathematician.
  • ….
  • Another problem, that developing countries like India, Vietnam which are not rich countries, support chess more than rich countries.
  • Yes, yes.
  • Even strongest players in every province get state support. Every good player gets excellent state support. But in England even if you are Number 1, you get no support!
  • It is a problem in all rich western countries.  More developed country it is, less money goes to chess!
  • Chess is also not considered as a sport, not even as a minds sport. Political steps should be taken to recognize chess as a sport.
  • Thank you very much for the interview! I wish you and your son lot of success in chess and other areas of life!
  • Thank you!

Sergey Tiviakov. 12 September 2019.