Chess prodigy Aarav Dengla of Oberoi International School, who just celebrated his 7th birthday a couple of months back, created major upsets at the under-10 Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) event this year.
Dengla is the youngest player to win gold at an MSSA Chess event ever. With several senior international champions playing in the most prestigious chess title for school students, the 7-year-old’s victory has shocked the chess fraternity in Mumbai.
In round 7, his win against candidate master and Asian schools gold medalist Raahil Mullick, two years his senior, stunned all present at the playing hall. In round 8, Aarav’s refusal to Dev Shah’s (candidate master and world schools gold medalist) offer of a draw surprised other players and arbiters present in the hall.
Playing with black, Aarav went on to win the title by checkmating another international champ, Veer Kadakia, who is a year older than him. Veer won the bronze at the Commonwealth games under-8 category recently .
Earlier in the year, Aarav won the bronze at the National School Chess Championship 2016 held at Nagpur, where Vishwanathan Anand was the chief guest, inspiring the young kids towards sports.
Carlsen and Harikrishna are Aarav’s favourite chess players, but when asked about his favourite sport, the kid smiled and with a twinkle in his eyes said cricket. Chess comes a close second for the 7-year-old.
Mumbai’s only Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay, had this to say about Dengla, “I believe that being an expert is not by itself enough to be a winner. The expertise, only when coupled with fighting spirit and courage, could make a champion."