Chess players continue to demand attention. After World champion Viswanathan Anand's grand show in Moscow, news has come in from Tashkent of two other Indians — N. Srinath of Tamil Nadu and Ivana Maria Furtado of Goa — having won the Asian junior titles in the championship organised by the Uzbekistan Federation.

International Master Srinath, who earned his maiden GM norm by winning the championship, had won the world under-12 title earlier.

To that extent winning ‘big' titles is nothing new to this Chennai boy, who has just come out of Velammal School (Mogappair) with flying colours in the Plus Two exams.

As his father C.L. Narayanan put it, “he has already qualified to play in the U-18 world championship but before that his next goal is the Asian youth championship.”

Remarkable journey

It has been a remarkable journey for young Srinath in chess. As a five-year old he was initiated into the sport for fun by his cousin on a visit to Mumbai. The interest caught on as he pestered his father, on return, for a chess board.

Things began to happen from there. By the age of eight he had become an international player and before long, his father, who works for the United Insurance, had started taking him to various tournaments around the globe. “That is how we met Anand in Spain once,” recalled Narayanan about their favourite sportsman and a legend.

As a father he was also keen that the son does not give studies a slip. “But after joining chess his studies improved. He wrote the Plus Two exams studying virtually for two months only and has come out with 93 per cent marks,” said Narayanan with obvious sense of pride.

Srinath gets his coaching from GM Abhijit Kunte, who is based in Pune. “Once or twice in a month I used to take him to Pune. Now that he has finished his school, he plans to take up commerce and move over to a college in Pune. Chess will be his priority,” he said.

For the record, aside from the two titles won in the championship, India had a bronze medal winner too in WFM Rucha Pujari of Maharashtra.

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