Wednesday, Oct 30, 2002
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By D. Ravi Shankar
But, enthusiasm and endeavour apart, their lifestyle is one big battle to keep afloat.
Arjun is an international FIDE rated player who holds the distinction of being the youngest Indian to get an international chess rating. He is also the winner of the under-11 section in the British chess championship in 2001.
Clubbed with that is the under-16 title win in the Abu Dhabi international chess championship this year.His brother Gauri Shankar also has an impressive record. National chess champion at the age of seven, British chess champion last year and triple crown winner (under-9, 10 and 11) at the Commonwealth chess championship this year. Both boys have quite an impressive record and deserve accolades for their achievements.
So far everything looks to be on track and expectations are high for the duo to achieve more successes. However, as always there seems to be a stumbling block. In their case it is once again the biggest bugbear - lack of funds.
Gauri and Arjun's father C.R. Manoj was at The Hindu recounting his travails. The boys have been invited to participate at a chess tournament organised by the Continental Chess Association of the United States at Las Vegas from December 26 to 29 and in Los Angeles from January 17 to 20. They have also been registered to play at the World amateur chess championship at Brazil from December 8 onwards. The catch is that these are direct entries and the invitations clearly state that all expenses for travel and stay have to be borne by the players. As the boys are not even teenagers, a person will have to accompany them. The estimated budget requirement for these trips is around Rs. 6 lakhs.
With all the tournaments the boys have won, support from State Associations and AICF should have been forthcoming. But that's not been the case. As these are direct entries none of the associations are willing to support the players.
Manoj prefers to steer clear of any controversy and just states "We are looking for a benefactor or some company to sponsor the boys. If some kind soul or corporate office steps in, we can go to these tournaments and hope to win medals for the country."
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