Vishy’s mission: taking chess to the masses
Kabir Mandrekar
Posted: Jan 14, 2009 at 0152 hrs IST

Pune The success mantra for three-time world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand lies in enjoying each game, rather than trying to win them. When victories come – and they do with an amazing bit of regularity for this smiling assassin – it’s always a bonus.

Thus, when he pursues a project that was kick-started in 2002 – to take chess to the masses – Anand does it with a similar mindset. He enjoys what he is doing. The NIIT Mind Champions Academy, has managed to add over 6,350 chess clubs with around 7,45,000 students since inception. And Anand is indeed happy about this achievement. “Our plan is to bring the game of chess to the masses. We want the people from the remotest of places to actively participate in the game of chess. Our aim is to teach the game of chess to as many students as possible within the country as it also helps develop the memory and concentration skills of the children. Hence efforts are being undertaken to involve more schools in this course,” said Anand.

When Anand made his first stopover in Pune this year on Monday, he said the time was ripe to emulate Russia and China by broad-basing sporting activities, so that champions could be nurtured in various events.

The results are already there for all to see. The academy has groomed young prodigies like 14-year-old Karthikeyan Murali whose current FIDE rating is 1780 and he was placed 40 out of the 210 participants at the national level last year.

Anand has personally travelled to Agartala, Guwahati, Raipur, Patna, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and other cities across India, motivating schools to actively take up chess as a sporting activity. Anand, who was in the city to felicitate youngsters who took part in Chess Master 2008, said he saw a bright future for a number of them. He had special words of praise for the zonal winners of 2008 – Bhakti Juikar and Prabha Rajwade. “I am confident that the excellence and determination that these young children have displayed will help them perform well in academics as well. It is heartening to see that NIIT Mind Champions Academy has reached huge number of children across the country to initiate them into the game of chess,” he said.

Chess Master 2008 was flagged off by Anand in New Delhi and simultaneously in 11 other cities in May last year.


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