Life in black-and-white

EVEN THOUGH grandmaster, Vishwanathan Anand, has done India proud by showing his superiority on the chessboard there aren't many takers for a game of chess. To make the public get hooked to this axing game, N.C.Mehra and J.V. Ravichandran have come out with a book, titled, "Analytical Games of Chess" in which they have given theoretical and, significantly, legal moves of grandmasters like Anand and Kramnik in graphic details.

With the disintegration of the former Soviet, do we stand a chance of becoming the top nation in chess? "Yes we do. In Soviet Union it was compulsory in the school curriculum to play chess. They used to give extra incentive. Whereas in India our students don't concentrate on any game," says the co-author, Ravichandran, a software engineer by profession.

Does one need to be a mathematical genius or a numerical wizard, one asks. "One needs to have an analytical mind. Not necessarily a mathematical mind. I was captain of the chess team when I was a student at Shri Venkateshwara College. During those days J.V. Joshi and Apte were major players. Chess in the Capital was flourishing till 1991. There was obvious talent but not much improvement could be made, as there wasn't much of interaction between the players. This was due to politics going on in the Delhi Chess Association. Because of infighting there weren't many sponsors and professionals weren't coming forward." He says that game isn't as popular as cricket, because parents don't encourage their children to spend so much time in this game as they feel this it would affect their studies. He believes children have the ability to become professional players and illustrates his point by giving the case of Tanya Sachdeva who is "the first woman international master from Delhi."

Mehra says, "Chapter two informs amateurs and beginners how to lay traps. We have shown games of great players so that beginners can hone their skills. There is analysis from computer. After the success of Vishwanathan Anand this game has become highly popular. Being a chess player is considered as an extra qualification in banks, excise and central income tax."