In the words of American novelist, Walter Tevis, ‘Chess is not always competitive. “Chess can also be beautiful,” he said. These resonate in the mind when spotting youngsters engrossed in board games at various places in the city, including some cafes. On International Chess Day (July 20), some youngsters from Delhi-NCR share their love for the game and how it has positively impacted their lives.
Chess is one of those games that resonates very closely with our lives. Ups and downs, creativity and strategic play have their beauty in their inherent quality of teaching the art of patience and concentration, something that always inspires 22-year-old gurugrammer Gokul Kumar. He runs a recreational group called the Checkmate Chess Club. “I started playing chess when I was 12 years old. I used to play school ke bad friends ke saath everyday. Jinko ches khelni nahi aati thi, anko bhi humne aad kiya aur khelna sikhaya. Soon, chess started helping me improve my decision-making and problem-solving skills,” recalls Kumar, who graduated from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning last year and currently works in a bank.
“Chess has helped me to stay calm, think wisely and take right decisions in every situation. Whether I’m sad or happy, chess is usually my answer to most things in life, says Kumar, who credits the game somewhere for anchoring his life during the pandemic. But Riya Kayat, a chess lover and BCom (Hons) final year student of Zakir Hussain Delhi College, also has an emotional connection with the game. “Growing up, my father taught me how to play chess. Thus, I will always have a special connection with it. Chess has taught me the importance of strategy and the need to think before moving. I believe this applies to our daily lives as well. So, I try to incorporate it in my life,” says 21-year-old Kayat, “Though studies have become important at a certain point in my life, I keep in touch with this game by playing with myself. Friends, some chess loving groups and even online.
Indeed, as a game, chess inspires one’s life with a mechanism to enhance personal growth. Take Rahul Bhagwat, a 27-year-old digital marketing professional for example, who says, “Chess has helped me evolve as a person, knowingly or unknowingly. It gave me a lot of new interest in the game and I’m really glad I took it up. I lacked focus, but since I started playing chess, I can see how it has helped me to work and develop changes in myself. My concentration and focus at work has also improved significantly. It’s really a game that teaches you a lot.”
Kumar, who organizes chess tournaments around NCR, is optimistic that interest in the game will grow further. “Like abroad, I want people to play chess in restaurants and libraries in my city. We have started providing chess boards to our nearby restaurants and cafes that host tournaments. I am happy to see that more and more people are taking to playing chess and hence the beauty of this game.
The author tweeted @karansethi042
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