MANGALORE, July 20, 2011

10-year-old beats Grand Master
Anisha Sheth

Rathnavel says R.R. Lakshman committed a mistake

The most mundane of ingredients can mix with each other to create an interest in a game and later enable that person to beat a Grand Master at it.

V.S. Rathanvel, a class 5 student from Coimbatore, has won a game of chess against Grand Master R.R. Laxman at the ongoing open chess tournament in Mangalore. Asked how he managed to do that, Rathanvel said: “He made a mistake. He gave me two points.” Of course, he would not say anything beyond that, leaving his explanation a bit of a mystery.

Asked how Rathanvel came to be playing chess in the first place, his father Shivakumar said: “I am a very short-tempered fellow. So I want my sons to develop patience and decision-making capacity.” The coaching class was close to his house and shop, he added. So far, he has lost two games and won four at the championship. When he is not playing at the tournament, he practices the game online on a laptop in the hotel room. He started playing the game in 2008 and after he first learnt the game, he began to attend classes.

He won his first match in a local tournament in Coimbatore and since then has participated in both national and international championships. Last year, he represented India at the Asian Youth Chess Festival in Beijing. However, they had to skip the same tournament in Philippines this year for financial constraints, Mr. Shivakumar said.

He has been selected for another international championship to be held in Brazil next year, but Mr. Shivakumar says the trip will cost at least Rs. 3 lakh, and that the family found it difficult to find sponsors.

Football and cricket

Rathanvel said his other interests include playing cricket and football. Asked why he likes football, he simply said: “I like to run” and with his enthusiasm, the striker has managed to score one goal. His brother Rohit too likes to play chess, but refuses to play with Rathanvel anymore because “he always loses”.

Another feather in his cap is that he got a chance to play against World Champion Viswanathan Anand earlier this month. During the inauguration of a college in Coimbatore, he was one among the 15 people against whom the Chess maestro played simultaneously.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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