P. Manikandan, a class 12 student of Municipal Higher Secondary School, Lakshmipuram, is on cloud nine — he has bagged the first prize in a national-level chess competition conducted by HCL Foundation.
A self-taught player, Manikandan developed a keen interest in chess at the age of 13.
“My brother was my first chess opponent,” he recalls. “As I started playing with him, I slowly developed an interest in the game. Gradually, I began to learn more about the game watching YouTube videos on the same, for a year.”
When the school received a notice regarding the national-level competition, Sathyapriya, the physical directress of the school, believed Manikandan would be the ideal candidate to represent the school.
With consistent practice and support from professionals, Manikandan qualified from south zone to the national level. Later, he received training from a professional.
“I am happy that I brought laurels to my school and teachers. One day, I hope to win the Grandmaster title too,” says Manikandan, who also aspires to become a doctor.