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Huge demand for personal chess coaches
By Express News Service – THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Published: 26th November 2013 10:18 AM
Last Updated: 26th November 2013 10:18 AM
Want to be the next Magnus Carlsen? Get your personal coach for starters. The demand for personal chess coaches who can guide players through the intricacies of chess analysis and difficult board positions is on the rise in the capital with more and more youngsters getting drawn to the game of kings. And guess what, thanks to the internet, chess coaches in the capital have even gone ‘global’, providing tips online to young Malayali players living abroad!
Such is the demand for personal coaches that the district chapter of Chess Association-Kerala, the official state-level body for the board game, is hard pressed to find experts. ‘’We are providing personal tutors wherever we can, but there is such a huge demand now that we can’t find enough trainers,’’ said association district secretary A Rajendran Achari.
“Personal coaching was popular earlier also. But now the demand is much higher. It’s usually a one-and-a-half hour to two-hour session. In fact, the number of academies offering chess coaching also has witnessed an increase,’’ said former state champion P Sreekumar, who is one of the sought-after personal coaches.
Competitive chess demands a huge investment of time and resources that personal coaches are a must if the player wants to move beyond a certain level. ‘’Personal coaches sit with the player, analyse games, point out drawbacks, examine unusual openings and help the player develop variety in his or her play. This is very important if you’re planning to go competitive,’’ said Rajendran Achari.
‘’I’ve been offering personal coaching for the past six years. But, nowadays, I even offer online training using Skype and similar softwares to former students who are living in places like Qatar, the US and the UK,’’ said Justin Joseph, chess coach and director of the Chaturanga Chess Academy.
Personal coaches don’t come free. The going rate can be anything from Rs 250 to Rs 500 for a one-and-a-half hour session, according to Rajendran Achari.
Also, the global phenomenon of younger and younger chess players is reflected in Thiruvananthapuram also. A perfect example is Nikhil Ramakrishnan, who recently grabbed headlines winning the Under-5 Asian tourney.
‘’One mother came to me recently with her four-year-old son and wanted us to start coaching him. Parents also take the game a bit more seriously nowadays,’’ said Rajendran Achari.
According to Sreekumar, the ideal age to begin chess is five, even though some youngsters pick up the ideas a little sooner.