It is his family’s favourite pastime, but to 13-year-old R. Raghav Reddy, it is a serious game: Uno. Raghav, who is the first ever national Uno champion (the national finals were held in Mumbai recently), will now represent India at the Uno Asia Championship among seven countries in Tokyo in November. This is for the first time that India will participate in a world championship in Uno.
“I am very happy that after a challenging and tough round, I have emerged as India’s champion. I thank my family for introducing this game to me,” says Raghav, a class 8 student at Narayana e-Techno School in R.T. Nagar.
Raghav was initiated into the game when he was in class 2. His elder sisters Ramya and Raksha, who were then in class 5 and 8, were his gurus. It wasn’t always an equal match with his older siblings, but soon the little boy learnt the tricks of the trade. “Later, I was able to point out all their ploys and we always had a hearty laugh,” says Raghav.
Uno is as much a game of skill as it is about luck, explains Raghav. “There are five different sets of cards – skip, reverse, wild, draw four, and draw two. You need to display your skill at saving important cards, knowing when to put down those cards, playing the colour change card to your own advantage and finally yell ‘UNO’ to win the game!”
Speaking about the national competition, Raghav says that after the semi-final round held in various cities, contestants from Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai battled it out in the final rounds at Mumbai. About 50 children participated in the Bangalore round. Raghav was accompanied by his sister and father to the finals at Mumbai. His sister Raksha, now a medical student, provided tips to Raghav so he could improve his game in the finals. “My family is a great source of inspiration,” Raghav says.
Though he is busy attending his mid-term examinations, preparations for the international competition are in full swing. “Everyday, I play Uno for an hour with my family and I am trying to hone my skills further,” says Raghav who wants to train to be an aeronautical engineer in future. As for Uno he says: “I think this game comes naturally to me.”