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The unassuming ‘guru' of Harika

V.V. Subrahmanyam
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NuRturing talent: Narahari Venkata Sita Ramaraju coaching children in chess.
NuRturing talent: Narahari Venkata Sita Ramaraju coaching children in chess.

He is just a matriculate, but has an amazing grasping power to understand the most difficult openings and endings on the 64 squares. He also passes on the knowledge to his trainees with ease. That is Narahari Venkata Sita Ramaraju for you -- the man who coached the newly-crowned Asian women's chess champion, Dronavalli Harika.

That could be the reason why Harika doesn't think of a foreign coach even after reaching this level. And, her first phone call on winning the Asian title was to her ‘guru' to thank him.

Unlike many of his tribe, the 36-year-old Ramaraju, as he is popularly known, doesn't really crave for any publicity. Perhaps, that is the reason why he goes almost unnoticed at the Fateh Maidan Club where he is staying in connection with the State under-11 chess championship in the adjacent Tennis Complex yoga hall.

Even at his RACE Academy in Guntur, Ramaraju has only four trainees; one of them is Harika and the up-and-coming B. Harsha being the other familiar face.

Online training

Two of his students in the U.S. are given online training. They are scheduled to visit the Academy this summer for a two-month, one-to-one coaching stint.

“I don't want to have my Academy overcrowded as I cannot concentrate on too many players,” he says. “I am happy that chess coaching is my livelihood. I don't dream big on the personal front,” says Ramaraju, whose best showing as a player was the fourth place in the National under-25 championship, a few years ago.

Dream

“My dream is to be the coach of a world champion. I am confident, one day, Harika will be the queen of the world chess,” says the coach, before joining the young future champions in the tournament hall.


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