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Chess mate

Kids of his age may be busy with television, cricket and computer games, but Parimarjan Negi is globe-trotting playing chess. At the age of 13, he became the youngest Indian to win the coveted Grandmaster title. And now, at 17, he has won the prestigious Arjuna Award. To commemorate his stupendous achievement, his alma mater Amity, Saket, organised a felicitation ceremony where he was honoured with a huge garland, a trophy atop a chess set and a cheque of Rs.2 lakh.

The teenager, however was unfazed by all the accolades and hype around him. Calm and composed, he rather chose the occasion to thank everyone who has supported him. Crediting chess for the various lessons he has learned in his life, he said, “Chess has shaped my personality, helped me to overcome my fears and sharpen my decision making ability.”

Despite attaining celebrity status, the Delhi boy shows no tantrums. He patiently answers all the questions thrown at him and pleasantly gives his autograph. The prolific achiever is also the topper of his class. — no wonder his teachers and peers are all gaga over him.

Parimarjan, who picked up the game at the age of four, has delivered commendable performances in the game at both national and international levels. “When I started playing chess, it was just another puzzle to solve, but now I want to bring India onto the world map,” he proclaims. The world's second youngest Grandmaster is focused and aware of the ground realities. Geared up for a tournament in the Netherlands, he says, “This year has been a little rough so I'm looking ahead to some success.”

A zealous fan of Ayn Rand's mindboggling novels, Parimarjan has no qualms about missing out on a normal childhood. “Chess is my hobby, my passion and the profession I have chosen,” he states.

He wants chess to be part of the Commonwealth Games and Olympics, though he is sceptical about India's performance in the latter. “We will certainly top in CWG but Olympics would be a totally different and difficult ballgame.”

Savouring the laurels tossed at him, he insists he is unperturbed by expectations and attention. “Expectations are always there, you can't avoid it,” he asserts. Then comes the clincher. “I compete with no one but with myself.”

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 1:00:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/Chess-mate/article15788195.ece

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