Veteran chess administrator Ummer Koya dead

Former vice-president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) P T Ummer Koya passed away on Tuesday, family sources said.

He was 69.

Koya, who was the FIDE vice-president from 1996 to 2006, died at his residence at Panniyankara near here after a protracted illness.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

Koya occupied AICF office as Joint Secretary and General Secretary between 1985-89 and 1989-2005 respectively for a total of 20 years.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the death of Koya and said his demise was a big loss to the Indian chess federation.

“Koya was instrumental in making India popular among the international chess championships. He will be remembered for his contribution to popularise chess in the country,” Vijayan said in a release.

The chief minister also said Koya was able to train a number of Indian players to the international level.

FIDE expressed its “deepest sadness” at his demise.

“Besides his role in our organisation, Ummer Koya (Calicut, 1951) was a cornerstone for the development of chess in his country. He was elected General Secretary of the All India Chess Federation in 1989, a post he held until 2005,” the FIDE said in a tweet.

“We are very thankful for his dedication and his contributions to promoting chess from both institutions, and from FIDE we would like to express our sincerest condolences to his relatives, his loved ones, and all the members of the Indian chess community,” it said.

He was also the treasurer of the Commonwealth Chess Association, England from 1994 to 2000.

The AICF condoled Koya’s demise and said on its website: “In his death chess world has lost a patron of the game. All India Chess Federation deeply condoles his demise and pray his soul Rest In Peace.”

Himself a good player and arbiter, Koya displayed fine administration skills. He was elected Vice President of world chess federation (FIDE), President of Commonwealth Chess Association and Chairman of youth committee of FIDE, the AICF said.

He was editor of the official organ of AICF magazine ‘AICF Forum’ for many years, it added.

Several chess players also mourned Koya’s death and shared messages on the social media.