Local chess players make the right choices: The Tribune India

Jupinderjit Singh

When Saanvi Aggarwal from Chandigarh won second place in the National Chess Under 5 category in 2018, she highlighted the potential of North Indian chess players.

Although at present Himanshu Sharma of Haryana is the only Grandmaster from North India to be among the 66 GMs in the country, the game and level of chess players has improved considerably.

Tarini Goyal

International Master (IM) Himal Gosain may soon be Chandigarh’s first Grand Master. At 27, he already has two of the three mandatory standards required to win the title.

Tarini Goyal, who already has an international standard in her kitty, is ready to become an international female master. Dushyant Sharma from Jalandhar, just 17, achieved an IM standard last year.

Railway-working Ludhiana’s Arvinder Preet won the FIDE World Amateur Chess Championship in the under 2300 category in 2018.

Chandigarh’s Shaurya Kumaria won the prestigious Delhi Open (Category C) tournament in which more than 1,300 players took part.

Before that, Baij Nath and Abhinandan Vohra, both coached by Himal Gosain, and Naveen Bansal, who coached Tarini Goyal in the early years of his career, had marked the chess scene.

The brother-sister duo of Punjab Women’s Chess Champion Shweta Rathore and Nitin Rathore run the Chess Mantra practice club in Mohali and Chandigarh. The duo came into the limelight after their appearance on the TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati, hosted by Amitabh Bachchan. Nitin coached Saanvi Aggarwal. “There are at least 1,000 active players in the region,” Nitin said.

Indicating the growth of the game, former Uttar Pradesh champion Ram Parkash has opened a coaching club in Chandigarh. Mohammad Ibrahim, a prominent player from South India, also settled here.

Although Himal Gosain and some other players have gotten jobs based on their chess performance in railways and banks, the lack of support from governments in this region is seen as a hindrance.

Gaurav Bansal, who heads the Chandigarh Shatraj Parents Association, laments that Chandigarh does not recognize chess as a graded game. “Players often have to travel to New Delhi and beyond if they want their child to reach a good level. It takes time and money,” he says.

Juhi Goyal, mother of Tarini, did just that. “Juhi was working as a deputy headmaster of a reputable school in Chandigarh. She quit her job when she saw the potential in our two daughters, Arunima and Tarini,” says Ashish Goyal, her husband. He then became president of the Chandigarh Chess Association.

According to international trainer and arbiter Naveen Bansal, to make a chess champion, the right type of combination is essential. The most important thing is the child’s passion for the game, then comes the dedication of the parents, in addition to finding the right coach with good experience. It is important that he has a thorough understanding of the game.

“Making parents understand the game and performance is more difficult than coaching children,” insists Bansal.

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