The All India FIDE rating Chess tournament that was scheduled to begin in Puri today was cancelled following the death of five chess players in a road accident near Sakhigopal on Sunday.
An 11-member chess team from Andhra Pradesh, led by its coach, International Master P D S Girinath was on its way to attend the event in the holy city of Puri when the vehicle in which they were travelling collided with a private bus, killing five of them on the spot.
Four others, including Girinath and his wife Jayalaxmi who were injured in this horrific road mishap, are reportedly out of danger now.
The five budding chess players were identified as M Abhinab, D Meenu, Haricharan, M Madhuri and Sekhar. The driver of the Tata Sumo and a passenger of the bus were also killed on the spot and 30 other passengers have sustained injuries as the bus turned turtle.
The bodies of the five children who were killed are now on their way back to their homes in Andhra Pradesh. Ironically all this happened even as world champion Vishwanathan Anand was in Hyderabad to felicitate two of the top players from the state.
"I don't remember anything. I was sleeping at that time. When I opened my eyes I was in hospital," said Manogna, a member of the team.
The children who succumbed to their injuries on the spot included two Asian level champions. M Abhinav was last year's under-10 Asian champion and the present under-10 Asian champion D Meenu's loss will be felt for a long time to come.
aMy heart goes out to their families, especially the two champions. I think was a quite a loss. They both are Asian champions, but all five were promising. Besides the fact that they were chess players, they died so young. I think itas just a tragedy,a said Vishwanathan Anand.
The bodies have been sent for the postmortem. The organizers of the tournament at Puri have postponed the event and plan to do a special tournament every year in honour of these children whose death came too early in life.