With many national and international awards in their kitty, three siblings from Araria district in northeastern Bihar have “check-mated” various odds to make all the right moves.
But to fulfill their ambition of becoming grandmasters, the highest title a chess player can attain, prodigies Kumar Gaurav, 17, Saurav Anand, 15, and Garima Gaurav, 13, need sponsorships for training and participating in international events.
Having won one ‘norm point’ each, Kumar Gaurav and Saurav Anand are already at the cusp of earning the international master (IM) title. Two more ‘norms points’ will give them the IM distinction, awarded by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) to “strong chess players”.
Success for the children of Dev Nandan Yadav, a lawyer, and Kadambari Devi, residents of Shivpuri locality at Araria, 306 km north east of state capital Patna, has been far from a smooth affair. The family has struggled to raise money for training and their participation in several tournaments has also put additional financial strain on their parents. With no sponsorship, they have to travel on their own.
Their father is a proud man, but rues his inability to help them financially.
“I am proud of my children’s talent. But I am the most unfortunate father as my income is not enough to help them pursue their interest,” Yadav, who practises law at Araria civil court, said, adding that he had to mortgage his house to send his children abroad.
He said Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind had invited Kumar Gaurav to Raj Bhawan in Patna on November 28, 2016, after he won the national junior championship and assured him full support. On May 30, 2010, chief minister Nitish Kumar, during his Vikas Yatra, had met the chess prodigies and assured them assistance, Yadav said. “But no assistance seems to be forthcoming,” Yadav said, while appealing to the government and philanthropists to come forward to help his children attain the coveted title of grandmaster.
“They are mostly self-taught, occasionally seeking help from senior chess players. Extremely talented, they have immense potential to become grandmasters one day,” said their mentor international master Vishal Sareen.
The siblings, who started playing chess in 2007, have been taking online tips from Sareen since 2014.
“More than anything, they now need sponsorship ,” Sareen told HT over phone.
The trio share among them the Commonwealth chess championship, national chess championship, Asian youth chess championship and national junior chess championship. Trophies and medals overflowing from the cupboard in their modest house bear testimony to their achievements.
Kumar Gaurav and Saurav Anand both were awarded ‘norm certificates’ by former world chess champion and grandmaster Viswanathan Anand at the India Infoline Finance Limited (IIFL) Wealth International Chess Championship-2017 in Mumbai.
Kumar Gaurav is at present representing India at the Asian Junior Chess Championship in Iran. Before leaving for Iran, he had told reporters: “I hope to perform well at the tournament.”
Saurav Anand had represented India in World youth chess championship in 2014 at Durban, South Africa. Despite finishing 21st , the tournament gave him much confidence. “Though I did not do well, I learnt a lot,” he said, adding that he wanted to become a grandmaster like Viswanathan Anand.
Similarly, Garima said: “I love chess and want to become a woman grandmaster.”
Love for chess, however, has not affected their studies. “They are very sincere and never miss classes if they are in the town,” Naushad Alam, a teacher at Araria High School, where the trio study, said.