Stories of change
Samyak Sonchal, Age 10.
“I love chess because I think it is one of those games which is good fodder for your mind. It is challenging and equally fun.”
“With every new level, there is an increase in the difficulty level and it becomes hard to keep up. But I like myself a good challenge from time to time.
I also love to teach chess to my friends at my daycare. It’s fun to take on the role of a teacher at such times!”
“Has chess helped you in achieving better concentration levels?”
“Definitely! Daily practice and problem-solving has helped me improve my mathematical skills. I also attend an extra-curricular mathematics class, and just today a scored a 62/70 on the test and got promoted to the next level!
Sapttaswa Chakraborty, Age 8
“I like to play chess because it is a mind game, if you focus well on it, anyone can win at it. I also like how it involves a subject like Mathematics, which is something that we’re familiar with at school. I feel that winning at chess takes patience. My Dad once told me about a chess game that went on for as long as 5 days!
This one time, we had a chess competition in school and back then I was not that good at chess. I would lose after every 20 moves.”
“Is that why you wanted to learn chess?”
“Yes, that and also because I was interested in learning more about the game.”
“So, what has changed since you started to train?”
“The other day, I played a full game of blindfold chess and won in just 7 moves!”
Ansh Nair, Age 10
“My daily chess practices involves 5 minutes of meditation, followed by solving 2-5 problems from the book after which I play one game with myself.”
“Do you prefer playing a game by yourself?”
“For practice, yes. After playing with myself, I have realized that I have stopped worrying about my opponent’s move. I am now able to focus on strategizing about what could be my best move and what could be the opponent’s best move in response to it.
This tells me if it seems like a good idea to make that particular move. Adopting this method has got me thinking about the ‘best possible move’, and I think that is the best possible outcome for me.”
“Chess, for me is a hobby and hence it is something that I really enjoy, and that makes me look forward to attending chess classes. I also love competing in chess tournaments because it helps me improve my speed of strategizing. My ultimate goal is to become a Grandmaster!”
“So, is it safe to say that you love the game?”
“So much that if tomorrow I were to become an astronaut and were to travel to another planet (which will take a fair amount of time), all I would want to do during my travel time from one planet to another is to play chess!”
Meher Khedkar, Age 12
“I like playing chess because it’s a no-frills attached game, all you need while playing is a focused mind. Also, unlike in many other sports where at times one can win by a stroke of luck, you can only win at a game of chess by being attentive and making the right move.”
“At Victorious Chess Academy, it’s like we are one big family. We are all trained and treated like equals, so the competition is only healthy.
I also enjoy competing in tournaments because you end up going against challenging players that help you improve your game as well.
Tournaments are great opportunities to learn new chess tactics, so even if you lose, it’s still a win-win situation.
At my first FIDE Rating tournament, I only scored a bye-point. I was, of course, sad, but it motivated me to practice more and more and keep giving the game my best.
That’s also one of the great things about chess – there is no age bar, you can try until you succeed!”
“And is there a chess player you look up to for inspiration?”
“I believe I can become the greatest chess player. So, I’m my own hero!”
Idhant Misra, Age 7
“Do you like playing chess?”
“Because it is fun!”
“And do you like coming to chess class?”
“Yes! Because it is fun!”
“I like the opening part of the game, I think that it sets the tone for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, not many of my friends can play chess. So, I mostly end up practicing on my own. I wish more and more of my friends would learn to play chess, so we can discuss some great tactics. But everyone in my family can play the game, so at times I enjoy playing a good game with either my sibling or either of my parents.”
“And what has been your best game so far?”
“My best game was when I was playing on world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen’s app. I played against an opponent aged 6.5 years and won the game. That felt pretty cool!”
Disha Dhore, Age 18
“I started learning chess initially to be able to participate in the ZP level tournaments. What started off on a very casual note is today a big part of my life.
I used to very restless as a child, you would never find me sitting in one place for too long – which is why my parents were naturally skeptical when I told them that I wanted to start learning chess!
After playing the game for quite some time now, I have realized how much it has transformed me as a person – it has taught me patience, taught me to look at people and situations with a wider perspective, and most importantly in behavioral development.
I have learned to be more patient and think more objectively about things that I cannot have any control over. At the same time, chess has helped me build upon my strengths. I am not someone who can be put on the back foot. I love to attack, whether in a game of chess or when it comes to tackling everyday life problems!
I clearly remember the very first tournament that I played in. I was new to the game and just for experience’s sake, I participated and played against and International Master – I had no idea what it meant back then. Sir (my coach) was giving me basic instructions, and he told me that if you lose, ask your opponent where you went wrong. I guess losing was never an option for me even then, because I in turn asked him, ‘but what if I win?’. He said, if you win don’t hesitate to tell your opponent where he went wrong!
I think it’s been quite a journey from that day to today, where I am more equipped to win, thanks to some wonderful years of being trained at VCA! Now, I have my eyes set on the bigger target – to be awarded at least one, any chess title in the next couple of years!”