METRO PLUS

By George! They're all CHAMPS

SISTER ACT: (From left): Neenu, Neelima and Nimmy George.

SISTER ACT: (From left): Neenu, Neelima and Nimmy George.  

THEY ARE the Ed, Edd and Eddy of Kerala chess. With names almost rhyming like the popular Cartoon Network characters, it's understandable if the names Neenu, Nimmy and Neelima send your mind into a whirl.

Well, the three talented George sisters from Aluva have sent the Kerala chess circuit soaring in jubilant excitement and have left many men wincing.

The first two, 19-year-old Neenu and 17-year-old Nimmy, are both former age-group internationals but while the elder girl has now opted for a career in medicine, the latter has chosen to plunge into a serious chess career. And now, seven-year-old Neelima, the baby of the gang, is also showing a lot of promise in the 64-square mind game.

Neelima, who took up the sport two years ago, won her maiden State title, the Kerala under-7 girls crown, in Kozhikode the other day.

"It used to be very noisy a couple of years ago when my three daughters sit down to play chess. They used to squabble a lot too. But now they are all very quiet, deep thinkers,'' said their thrilled dad, George John, a chemistry lecturer at the St Paul's College, near Kochi.

Clearly, the three have struck the right chemistry in chess. Neenu, a former under-12 national champion, has played in the Children's Worlds in Menorca (Spain) a few years ago, while Nimmy, currently the star sister, is a former national (under-19) junior runner-up (she was only 14 then) and under-14 national rapid champion. She also figured in the Junior Asians in Teheran two years ago.

Nimmy, a 12th standard student of St Francis GHSS, Aluva, also tied for the top spot in the last Junior Nationals but finished fifth when the tie was resolved through the progressive score. She is also the current Kerala women's champion, winning the crown for the third time a few months ago.

And last year, Neenu and Nimmy, along with N. Sandhya and S. Roshini helped Kerala win the National School Games chess title.

Chess is a very active sport these days; there are a lot of quality camps, tournaments and new age-group Nationals coming up each year, with probably only the Nationals for newborns missing from the All India Chess Federation's annual calendar.

"But without a sponsor, it's a big financial strain bringing up three chess players. Nimmy is very serious about her chess, that's why she has taken up commerce, unlike Neenu who is doing her first year MBBS at the Government Medical College in Thrissur. Nimmy is a very hard worker. If she gets a sponsor, she is sure to reach a high level in the sport,'' says George John, who is also a national arbiter.

Nimmy is already making waves in the Kerala men's circuit. She won a men's tournament in Nochima (near Aluva), which had a few rated players and finished runner-up in another event at Eroor.

George John plans to buy a computer at home shortly and introduce his talented daughters to the exciting chess software, Fritz six and seven.

"Sometimes, when they see children coming for tournaments equipped with a laptop and other modern gadgets, they could be under pressure. After all the hard work and preparation, they surely deserve all the gadgets that will sharpen their game,'' said George John.

Sure they do.

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