King of the chess board
By Aparna Unni / ENS - KOCHI
10th September 2012 10:48 AM
He must have been about seven years old when he first became fascinated by the black and white warriors battling it out to defend their respective kings by following set rules. That initial attraction became a passion with S L Narayanan, now a student of class IX at St Mary’s School, Pattom.
“I first became interested in chess watching my mother play at the office,” he said. “I think I was in the second standard then.”
The runner-up in the national sub-junior championship held last year in Chennai, Narayanan’s most recent claim to fame has come from having captained the Indian team to bag the bronze at the World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad held at Istanbul, Turkey, recently. He was given a warm reception at the airport on his return last Friday.
“My principal and my classmates had come to meet me and I was also given a felicitation in school,” he said, smiling shyly.
Narayanan’s bashful nature seems a contrast for somebody who has competed at the international-level thrice.
“He’s generally very shy and doesn’t talk much to people,” said his mother Lyna S, who works at the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India. Place a chess board before him and Narayanan opens up a little.
“Now I’m coached by International Master (IM) Varghese Koshy, but I began my training under state champion P Sreekumar when I was in the third standard,” he said, placing the chessmen into position. When asked how many tournaments he has played in, he said he has lost count.
“The same year that I began training I played my first district-level tournament at the YMCA and after that at Thrissur. I don’t really recall how many I’ve ever played but altogether, definitely over a hundred,” he said, having now begun a game with himself. White pawn to E4, pawn to C5, knight to F3, his fluid moves soon seem a blur.
“Oh that was a mistake, I should have moved the other black knight,” he said, playing several moves ahead to show how his wrong move had led black to a deadlock.
The top five players at the national sub-junior championships had been selected for the Chess Olympiad organised by the World Chess Federation.
“The boy from Andhra who had come first couldn’t make it so I, the runner-up, moved to first place and became captain,” said Narayanan, adding that captainship involved discussions with coach Neeraj Kumar Mishra on stuff like board order and when to play each player.
“It was a team event, four against four,” he said. “A team needs at least two wins and a draw to win a round. So, suppose, somebody on your team is clearly winning, you can call for a draw so as to ensure team victory. Such calls were mine to make.”
His next tournament is already almost upon him - the under-15 championships to be held at Nagpur in November. Between his travels, doesn’t he miss a lot of classes?
“But of course,” said his father P Sunilduth. “But his school is most supportive and his studies don’t suffer. He’s usually first or second in his class.”
Narayanan’s elder sister Parvathy, a plus-one student at St Thomas Central School, is also a national-level chess player.
“I was selected for the national under-19 at Uttar Pradesh,” she said. “But right now, my focus is on studies rather than chess.”
- India's bleeding insurgencies: Lessons from Latin America
- Western Ghat report has imperialist mindset: Ecologist
- Lot more to India-China ties than border stand-off: Experts
- Major industrial conglomerates making a beeline for Haryana
- Man kidnapped 23 years ago finds kin thanks to Google Maps
- Bangalore's techies start 'brand tattoos' craze
- Indian circuses struggle to adapt after court bans
- Want hassle-free tatkal ticket? Personally visit special counters
- Rs 8K-crore plan for upgrading ICVs of Army
- Man arrested for attempt to attack TV host Ranjini Haridas
- Sreesanth, 2 other players 'confess'; more players under scanner
- Kalabhavan Mani missing after assaulting forest staff
- The toxic truth about ripe mangoes
- Shift me from ‘Anda’ cell, pleads Sanjay Dutt
- Tamil Brahmi script dating to 500 BC found near Erode
- Meghalaya's CMJ University faces probe after awarding suspicious PhDs