May 19, 2002 

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Ambika K.Kutty, Palakkad


Chess players and champions are many.  But chess arbiters of international repute are few.

Meet Ambika K.Kutty, Palakkad, who is the first and only woman international arbiter from India.

52-year-old Ambika learned the game only after her marriage to Keshavan Kutty, an architect in Chennai.  She used to accompany her two children to chess tournaments.  “By observation I learned the game”, she says.

Apart from arbitering many international tournaments, she has accompanied Indian players as coach cum manager to many countries.  Locally, she has organized many nationals at Palakkad beside state and district events.

She is currently secretary of Women’s Council, All India Chess Federation (AICF) and holds the post of Vice President, All Kerala Chess Association.

How does one become an international arbiter?  AICF conducts regular examinations and refresher courses for arbiters.  One has to officiate a particular number of tournaments to qualify as national arbiter.  To graduate to international arbiter, one has to officiate several international tournaments.  Ultimately it is International Chess Federation (FIDE) that confers the title International Arbiter on arbiters.

Throughout her career, Ambika has been more of a ‘guardian angel’ than a ‘watch dog’.  For many woman chess players who feel uneasy with men arbiters, Ambika has come as a blessing.  “Players come to me with their problems freely.  It is important that I make them feel comfortable and familiar”, she says.

Impartial, pleasing and motherly – that is how chess players describe her.

Courtesy: Apoorva, New Indian Express, February 12, 2002

Contributed by: Administrator


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