Say Chess!

Yet another success story from the students of Dolphin School, Madurai.

Published - June 27, 2011 05:11 pm IST

Lifting their trophies: Manikandan (left) and Aravind Chidambaram. Photo:S. James

Lifting their trophies: Manikandan (left) and Aravind Chidambaram. Photo:S. James

Two students from a school, which has done well in producing chess champions, have been basking in glory following their success in the recent past.

V.R. Aravind Chidambaram, a Std. VII student of Dolphin Public School, is the reigning under-11 national champion and this victory led him to participate at the Asian and International championships.

He contested at the Asian level championships held recently in Manila; he romped home with three gold medals and one silver medal.

At the international rating tournament held in Bhubaneswar, he came first and at the Under-11 State level championships held in Tamil Nadu he bagged the second prize twice. It is interesting to hear how he developed an interest in the game.

“When I was in Std. II, I asked my grandfather to play cricket with me. He wittily replied, I am 84 years old, how can I play cricket? I will instead teach you another game which can be played indoors, he said, and thus my interest for chess began,” he said.

As his interest grew, he was introduced to a coach who honed his skills; for him his mother, V.R.Theivanai who works as an LIC agent and grandfather remain the inspiration. Aravind has an Elo rating of 2180, and his role model is Gary Kasparov.

S.S. Manikandan of Std. XII has won the under-17 State level chess championship with 7.5 points out of a possible nine rounds. He also participated in the School Games Federation of India championships held in Hyderabad. He bagged the bronze in 2009 and silver in 2010. He came second at the international rating tournament and secured the eighth place in the under-17 national level championships held in Jammu in 2010.

At the State level, he secured the second place in U-17 in 2009 and emerged winner in the following years. Manikandan's father S. Sangaiah works as a clerk at Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and his mother S. Dhanalakshmi is a home maker. Both of them encouraged him to the maximum when it came to chess. Manikandan has an Elo rating of 2099; his role model is Anatoly Karpov.

Role of the school

Dolphin Public School, Madurai, has already earned the reputation of producing champions in the game and has already produced two international grandmasters. The school offers free education to all the champion students and even prioritises the game over academics, says the principal, A. Padma. “It doesn't mean we do not concentrate on studies; fortunately all the students who excel in chess do well in studies. Therefore it becomes easy for us, though we compensate the days lost through special coaching classes,” says Ms. Padma.

A.R. Ramanathan, correspondent of the school, has been very supportive. A lover of the game, he encourages and motivates the players to aim higher. Coaches Ghouse Kamarudeen and Thiru Nagalingam are also instrumental in moulding their careers.

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