Sanjay Kapoor was elected president of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) while Bharat Singh Chauhan retained the secretary’s post in the polls held online on Monday.

Kapoor, representing Uttar Pradesh Chess Association, defeated incumbent P R Venketrama Raja in a close contest. Kapoor received 33 votes as against 31 of Raja.

Chauhan beat Ravindra Dongre 35-29.

Naresh Sharma, belonging to the Chauhan faction, was elected as treasurer, beating Kishore Bandekar 34-30.

The AICF has been split into two factions, one led by Raja and the other by Chauhan. The two have been at loggerheads for some time over various issues, including the conduct of the elections.

Several legal battles were fought in the past one and a half year and there were instances when the president and the secretary suspended each other at different times.

After a long-drawn battle, a court-appointed observer Justice (retired) K Kannan presided over the election process held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was the first time since 2005 that the AICF elections saw a contest as the candidates were chosen unanimously in the last 15 years.

Apart from the president, secretary and treasurer, six vice-presidents and six joint secretaries were also elected.

Kapoor said he will work for the chess players and lovers of the sport in the country.

“We have created history. It is a victory for chess lovers. It is the beginning of a new era for chess players and chess lovers in the country,” Kapoor told PTI.

He said his vision was to develop the sport at the grass-root level and take it to the schools big-time.

Chauhan said it was a victory of chess and chess players as he promised to work for the betterment of the sport.

“This is a victory of chess and chess players. We are going to work together…even the friends who have contested against us. We are one family. I appeal to them to work together for the sake of chess,” he said.

“The new AICF will work with progressive ideas…no enmity, no hard feelings. We are going to talk about chess, we are going to work for chess,” Chauhan added.

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