Six Indian chess players fell victim to theft on three separate occasions while staying in accommodations provided by the organizers during the Sunway Sitges Chess tournament in the town of Sitges. Among the affected Indian chess players were GM Sankalp Gupta, IM Dushyant Sharma, Women’s GM Srija Seshadri, Women’s IMs Mounika Akshaya, Arpita Mukherjee, and FIDE master Vishwa Shah. The incidents occurred on different dates, starting on December 19th, when the rooms of Gupta and Sharma were burgled. The thieves made away with personal items such as laptops and passports. Gupta reported the loss of his laptop, and Sharma discovered that his passport was missing after the incident.
I want to share my experience of the robberies that happened at Sunway Apartments during the 10th Sunway Sitges Chess Festival. @ChessbaseIndia @SunwayChessOpen @FIDE_chess @chessable @aicfchess @EmilSutovsky
— Sankalp Gupta (@gsankalp03) December 25, 2023
After the initial robbery, the remaining players were vigilant. Nevertheless, three days later, two separate rooms were targeted simultaneously. Mounika, a resident of a five-member room, and Mukherjee, who resided with Shah, both experienced thefts on that day. Mounika mentioned that her room was burglarized during a 45-minute walk. Upon her return, she discovered her belongings displaced and searched through. Despite the intrusion, she expressed gratitude that her passport had been spared by the burglars.
Mounika highlighted the indifferent behavior of law enforcement authorities when they came forward to report the loss of their belongings. The third robbery occurred in Shah and Mukherjee’s lodging while the players were asleep. The athletes noted that the security at the accommodation was notably inadequate, with only one guard patrolling an area spanning nearly two kilometers. Additionally, the presence of CCTV cameras was also limited.