Orrin Hudson is on a mission. It is that mission that has brought him here, all the way from Stone Mountain, United States.
The former police officer aims to introduce chess to one million people because he believes it is more than just a sport or hobby.
“I think chess can mean a lot of positive things to youngsters; after all it is the most non-violent of sports,” says Hudson, who is delighted to be in Chennai for the ongoing world championship.
“I have already toured Canada and Philippines as part of my mission and India is an important stop,” he says.
Shortly after checking into Hyatt Regency, the venue of the world championship, Hudson had the good fortune of running into the World No.1, Magnus Carlsen. “He was kind enough to pose for a photograph with me,” says Hudson.
“Then I played a few games with some of Carlsen’s team members. I became passionate about chess after being taught by a white teacher in an all-black school back home. I had a difficult childhood — I was involved in petty crime — and it was chess that made my life a whole lot easier,” he says.
Hudson has been trying to make life easier for many other underprivileged children. “When you have a tough childhood, you do crazy things; I remember being disturbed by an incident wherein two teenagers shot seven persons for $2,000,” he says. “So far, I have introduced 40,000 children to chess, since beginning my mission in 2000.”
Hudson has founded a non-profitable organisation, ‘Be Someone’. “Through the organisation, I have been showing people how chess can help them in various spheres of life,” he says.
“I do a lot of motivational speeches. Life, as in chess, is all about making the right moves at the right time. Chess teaches you many things, such as decision making and thinking on your feet. Support from people like actress Jane Fonda, who loves chess, has helped me reach out to more and more young minds,” he says.
Hudson, who has also authored a book, ‘One Move at a Time’, hopes to meet more children here over the next few days.
“I will be watching the world championship too. It’s great to be here, the hometown of Viswanathan Anand, who is the greatest ambassador of chess; he is so humble and articulate.”