Chennai: ”If a player really have interest and passion in the game, then no matter what, I will teach him to make his moves better,” says Praveen Kumar, a resident of Nesapakkam.
The 31-year-old chess coach is found mostly in public places like parks, sports ground, temples, etc. Interestingly, he does not spend his free time here. Rather, he gathers a group of interested children and teaches them chess here in these places.
”As a young boy, I always wanted to become the best chess player. But due to certain reasons, I was not able to pursue my tournaments, thereby putting an end to my dream path,” Praveen starts his story.
However, now, this enthusiast is a chess coach who is building the 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. Slowly, I started thinking about playing in tournaments. My first tournament was a huge defeat for me. However, I got a good friend in this tournament, who is a professional chess player,” says Praveen.
When Praveen who was invited by his friend to his house, he was surprised to see his room filled with medals and trophies. He then found that his entire family members are chess players and some of them were even IM (International Masters).
”He is my first master. I learned professional gaming through him and participated in a number of chess tournaments. I still continue to participate in tourneys. Besides, I thought children who want to achieve heights in this game should not waste their age. They must be a rated player at the right time. So I started teaching students who have a true interest,” he says.
The neighbourhood parks serve this purpose really well. Also, the spacious temples are divine and are apt places to learn chess. Currently, I am majorly concentrating on 10 of my students. They will be playing in upcoming tournaments soon.
”I don’t know if all chess players are good at math. But, I do know that they will be the best thinkers. This is the best psychological game. To understand your opponents’ mindset and to calculate his next move and at the same time, strengthening your side and plotting moves to defending it with your moves are all not easy,” he says.
TEACHING PARENTS, EQUALLY IMPORTANT
”I also make sure that I teach at least the basics of the game to my students’ parents also. Because this is the game that needs constant practice. There are a lot of online applications, in which you can play chess with a computer. But playing with a human has a major difference. You get to know how to have that mind interaction with people, you get to handle the illegal moves done by your opponent, you get the confidence of defending your moves, etc. All these are not possible when you are playing with computers. So I also teach the parents and ask them to keep practicing all the time,” says Praveen
BEST ALTERNATIVE FOR INTERNET ADDICTIONS
Most of the parents when they initially send their children for coaching will complain about their internet addiction. But, once you start practicing 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. They are the never-ending discoveries.
For now, Praveen is coaching students on a small scale. However, starting a full-time chess academy is one of Praveen’s goals. ”We have the finest players in our country. Yet the awareness of learning chess should be spread more. So, I want to create as much as players I can,” concludes Praveen.