J. R. Shridharan

Two boys from Vijayawada bring laurels to the country in chess tournaments

Harsha had six wins and three draws in the Asian chess tournaments at New Delhi and SingaporeSandeep won silver medal in under-14 Asian youth chess championship, New Delhi

VIJAYAWADA: The city that is known for producing chess champions of national and international repute is in news once again. Two kids from the city's chess stable brought laurels to the country with their stupendous performance in the Asian chess tournaments that concluded recently at New Delhi and Singapore.

Karnati Harsha, a fifth class student of V. P. Siddhartha Public School, created flutter at Singapore by winning the 'Asian under-9 Schools chess championship' by garnering 7.5 points out of the maximum nine points. "He had six wins and three draws in the tournament in which 60-odd players from Asia-Pacific countries, such as South Korea, Australia, China, Singapore and Malaysia participated.

He is now qualified for the World Schools Tournament, slated to be held at Greece in April 2006," a jubilant L. V. Siva Kumar, Harsha's coach said. Incidentally, he won his first international recognition at under-10 Commonwealth chess tournament held at Mumbai in 2004 by winning a bronze medal.

Wide range

Well! What sort of a player Harsha is? "He is a positional player and deft at end games. He likes to befuddle the opponents with his wide range of openings," Siva Kumar said with pride about his ward. A shy Harsha said, "I adore (late world champion) Capa Blanca. I like his style of playing." The coach chipped in, "Sitting for long hours is an ordeal for kids of Harsha's age. But I have been teaching Harsha yoga to enable him gain concentration and patience. We practice for five to six hours every day along with analysing the games of world champions."

Harsha would also be participating in the World under-10 tournament to be held at Russia in October 2006. This would be a litmus test for young Harsha, as some of the best brains in the game would be vying for honours.

Yalamanchili Sandeep, a ninth class student of Gowtham Concept School, Gudivada, won silver medal in under-14 Asian youth chess championship, New Delhi.

Aggression is his forte

"Aggression is Sandeep's forte. Though he excels in end and middle games, he makes silly mistakes against weaker players. His openings are not up to the mark in the world level. He should beef up his opening arsenal," feels senior player Bobba, who has been observing Sandeep's game over the years.

Sandeep idolises Russian Grand Master Gary Kasporav, and has two major tournaments coming up in the next few months. The Asian under-14 at Tehran (Iran) in April and World under-14 at Russia in July would test Sandeep's talent on a much tougher terrain. Incidentally, Sandeep won both individual championship and team gold in the Asian Youth under-12 championship held at Singapore in 2004.