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A chance to help chess prodigy Aravindh Chithambaram become a Grandmaster

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2.53K   //    08 Jan 2014, 17:59 IST
14-year-old chess prodigy Aravindh Chithambaram

14-year-old chess prodigy Aravindh Chithambaram

Aravindh Chithambaram may look like any ordinary 14-year-old boy, but beneath that mop of black hair lies a brain much sharper than that of fully grown adults. The prodigy took the chess world by storm when he won the Chennai Grandmaster International Open tournament last month, and he could well end up being India’s next chess sensation in the years to come.

Hailing from Chennai, the same place that former world champion Viswanathan Anand calls home, Aravindh defeated four Grandmasters and two International Masters on his way to the title. Remarkably, he produced a performance equivalent to 2728 Elo rating, despite having a previous Elo rating of 2335. Seeded 53rd at the tournament, Aravindh won 9 out of a possible 11 points to bag the trophy, in the process becoming the youngest Indian to win a GM event.

This was not the first time that Aravindh belied his age to beat the odds and come up trumps. He had earlier caught everyone’s attention when he won the National under-19 championship aged just 12. In addition, he had also won the silver medal at the World Under-14 Championship in 2012.

If he can accomplish such tremendous feats at the age of 14, there is no ceiling to the heights he can achieve through the rest of his career. However, the youngster comes from a poor family, and there is a very real possibility that financial difficulties may act as an obstacle in his pursuit of chess greatness.

Having lost his father at the age of three, Aravindh doesn’t have the necessary funds to get enough exposure at international events. His coach R.B. Ramesh believes the only thing that can stop Aravind from becoming a GM in six months is the lack of opportunities. “He needs to play in good tournaments abroad often, but he will require financial assistance for that,” he told The Hindu.

Ramesh fully believes in Aravindh’s abilities to make it big. In a talk with FirstPost he had said, “It is because of his sheer natural talent that he is succeeding. (But) to succeed in international sport, you just can’t rely on talent. He undoubtedly has the talent, but it needs to be supported with proper training and exposure.”

His mother Deivanai was quoted as saying, “We can’t really afford to send him for international tournaments. So he either plays tournaments in India or age group tournaments when he is selected in the Indian team. Recently after winning the U-19 title he was sent for two international tournaments abroad by the AICF and he has grown in confidence.”

Ramesh also added, “If you look at the ratings of Indian players you will know that there are many talented players with not so good rating points. That is why most top players don’t play here and that is hurting his chances in becoming a GM soon. If he gets to play abroad, I have no doubt that he can become a GM in six months.”

Here’s an opportunity for you to make a difference in the life and career of Aravindh. Support him and help him win more laurels for our country.

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Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform for important issues, is championing the cause of Aravindh. They are running a campaign for raising money to fund travel and other expenses for Aravindh necessary to put him on a fast-track to world recognition in chess.

Aravindh’s coach Ramesh has identified three potential chess tournaments which Aravindh could attend in the next 6 months. These are in Iceland, Germany and Thailand. Participation in these matches would involve international flights and over 30 days of stay abroad. This means they would have to buy flight tickets, make boarding and lodging arrangements, have money for local travel expenses and advanced training material. They also need to take extra care in making these arrangements given the fact Aravindh is not an adult.

The airfares and other travel expenses would come to over $ 7,000. Campaign costs, match fees, etc. would bring the total to about $ 8,000.

You can find all the details about the project here: Help fund Aravindh’s participation in international events

So if you would like to pledge your support to help Aravindh participate in international events, click on the link above and send in your contribution.

Who knows, your support today might help Aravindh become a GM in six months, and maybe even an international superstar some day!

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