Young chess whiz, 14-year-old Girish Koushik, hopes to break into the top league of the game. He's defeated many Grand Masters

Chess is a mind game and has a huge tradition in our country. With the achievements of world champion Vishwanathan Anand, the game has become more popular in our country and many chess players of repute have emerged at different levels and made their mark on the world chess scene. One such player who has been hogging the limelight with his consistent performance on the international and national stage is Karnataka's young chess player, Girish A. Koushik.

A former world under-10 champ, Girish, 14, is a 9th standard student of St. Thomas School, Visweshwarnagar, Mysore. Encouraged by his sports-loving parents, H.V. Arun Kumar and Lakshmi, this lad took to the game when he was six and started playing competitive chess at the age of eight.

Girish has gone on to bring laurels to India by winning the World Youth Under-10 chess championships in 2006, held at Batumi, Georgia. Recently, he participated in the Asian Youth Chess championships at Subic, Philippines and won the gold in the under-14 section.

He has also bagged the Asian Youth under-8 chess championships gold in Delhi in 2005, silver in the Asian Youth Under-10 at UAE in 2007, gold in the Asian Youth U-12 held at Tehran in 2008, the team Gold in the Asian Youth U-12 held at Delhi in 2009, the team silver in the World Youth U-16 Chess Olympiad in Turkey in 2009. He has won the Gold in the National U-11 (2008), National U-9 (2006) and secured the third place in the National U-11 chess (2007). He also won the title in The Telegraph School U-16 National chess at Kolkata in 2008.

He was honoured by the Karnataka state Government with the prestigious ‘Ekalavya Award' for his achievements in the game in 2008-09. He has been making rapid strides in the sport in the international scene and national level in different age category tournaments. He has also emerged as the State champion in different age categories.

Coached by his father H.V. Arun Kumar, who is a former Mysore University chess player, Girish Koushik presently has a rating of 2379. Girish also particpated in the recently concluded SDAT Ramco 50th World Junior chess championships held at Chennai recently and kept everyone spellbound with his feats. He registered upset wins over Grand Masters, Durabeyli Vasif of Azerbaijan in the fifth round, S.P. Sethuraman of India in the sixth round, Sjugivov Sanon of Russia in the seventh round and Grandellius Nills of Sweden in the eighth round. He had also registered wins over Bukhalaf Khalil of Bahrain, and S. Prasanna and Ramnath Bhuvanesh of India in the initial rounds.

After eight rounds, Girish emerged as the joint leader with Hovhannisyan Robert of Armenia with seven points. Girish could not maintain his winning streak and lost four games in a row from the ninth round to slip down in the final rankings. He lost to GM H. Robert of Armenia, GM Swieriz Dariusz of Poland, Rusulov Vugar of Azerbaijan and Russia's Gaganov Aleksey. He drew his final round tie against Norway's GM Ureedal Frode and finished with 7.5 points from 13 rounds and 26th in the tournament, but he created a flutter in the tournament with his amazing and shocking upset wins over five Grand Masters — a great achievement for a young chess player.

It enabled him to improve on his ratings and he also secured his first International Master and Grand Master norms.

Girish said he was delighted and happy after his splendid upset wins over Grand Masters and International Masters in the World Junior chess championships.

He said it was tough playing against experienced IM's and GM's. Girish also said it was great exposure for him to play against better rated players and grand masters from other countries and felt it was a learning experience. “In the last four rounds, I had to face tougher opponents and all were GMs. I tried my best to play a balanced game, but committed some mistakes and had to suffer losses in the last four games. Had I not lost, I would have finished much higher in the final placing.”

He adds, “I am happy that I could get my first IM and GM norms from this tournament. I intend to work hard in the days to come and get my remaining norms (both IM and GM) by December this year. I will be taking part in the National ‘B' championships in Aurangabad from October 7 to 22 and I want to perform well in the tournament.”

Girish's father and coach Arun felt his son has the potential to achieve greater success in this sport. He expressed his gratitude to the Karnataka Government for supporting Girish in his sporting ventures, but felt sad that much more needed to be done by way of sponsorship so that he could take part in as many tournaments as possible.

He had to write to the All India Chess Federation, expressing his inability to pay the steep Rs. 65,000entry fee for the World Youth U-14 chess championships to be held at Brazil in November 2011. AICF invited Girish to participate in the tournament and had paid for his airfare, but stated that the entry fee needed to be borne by the participant. Girish's father has expressed his inability to bear the expenses.

This issue should be taken note of by the Karnataka Government and corporates, who could offer to sponsor his trip to the World championships. If not, it will be a case of another talent being denied the opportunity to participate due to lack of sponsorship.

Girish intends to work hard in the days to come and aims to make a mark on the International and National level.

Keywords: Girish Koushikchess

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012