Chennai: If a player really has interest and passion for the game, then no matter what, I will go out of my way to teach him or her,” says 31-year-old chess coach Praveen Kumar.
A resident of Nesapakkam, Praveen can be often spotted at public places like parks, sports grounds, temples, etc. Interestingly, he does not spend his free times at these places, rather, he gathers a group of interested children and teaches them chess.
“As a young boy, I always wanted to become a professional chess player. But due to certain reasons, I was not able to take part in many tournaments early in my life,” Praveen begins telling his story.
However, this enthusiast is a chess coach now and helps build dreams of many such wannabe young minds. “My interest in learning chess started when I was a 12-year-old boy. I used to play matches with my street friends. I faced a huge defeat in first tournament. However, I made friends with my opponent Srikanth, who is a professional chess player,” he says.
When Praveen was invited to this friend’s house one day, he was surprised to see his room filled with medals and trophies. He later found out that his entire family members were chess players and some of them were even International Masters.
“I took Srikanth as my first master, and I learnt professional gaming through M Vijay, another chess coach. After that I participated in a number of chess tournaments and still continue to do so. Besides, I started teaching many children. Kids who want to achieve heights in this sport should be taught at the right age. The neighbourhood parks serve this purpose really well. Also, the spacious temples have divine aura and are apt for learning chess. Currently, I am focusing on 10 of my students who will be playing in upcoming tournaments,” he says.
When asked about the speciality of the sport, Praveen says, “I don’t know if all chess players are good at math. But, I do know that they will become better thinkers. Chess is the best psychological game. To understand your opponent’s mindset, to calculate his next move and at the same time strengthening your side and plotting moves to defend it with yours is very important for the game.”
TEACHING PARENTS IS IMPORTANT
I also make sure that I teach at least the basics of the game to my students’ parents. Because this is the game that needs constant practice. There are a lot of online applications, in which you can play chess with the computer. But playing with people has a major difference as you get to know how to use mind interaction with your opponent and will gain more confidence when defending your moves. All these are not possible when you are playing with computers. So I also teach the parents and ask them to keep practising the game with their kids, says the coach.
Most of the parents when they initially send their children for coaching complain about their child’s internet addiction. But, once you start practising chess, you can completely get rid of it. Such is the game’s module. Once you start playing, you will keep discovering the combinations, moves and will keep analyzing different positions. There are never-ending discoveries, he explains.
For now, Praveen is only coaching a small group of students. However, starting a full-time chess academy is one of his goals. “I want to create and introduce as many players as I can,” he signs off.
Praveen can be reached at 8939536256.