Grassroots Chess Promotions awarded twelve Tamil Nadu players who achieved accolades in the last two years. The function to honour them happened at Hotel Raj Park in Chennai’s busy Alwarpet area at a buffet dinner on February 17, 2021.
Two of the twelve awardees became Grand Masters in these difficult Covid-19 times! G Akash (second from left in photo above) who had at one time won the Indian National Title at Kolkata as a teenager won the Prague Open on Feb 22, 2020 by finishing ahead of the 42 Grand Masters to complete his fourth Grand Master norm. The other Tamil Nadu player to become a Grand Master was N.R. Visakh (holding award below) who completed his requirements in 2019.
Four players, R Vaishali (photo below), Srija Seshadri, V Varshini and P.V. Nandhidhaa (not present) became Woman Grand Masters in the last couple of years and was awarded. All four of them are actively representing India in various international events. Vaishali was even a member in the Olympiad Gold Medal winning Indian team. The participation of the Men’s team in Olympiads began in Moscow 1956 and our women’s team began from Buenos Aires 1978. A dream ended with the Indians winning gold medals in 2020.
Five players, G.B. Harshavardhan, A Ra. Harikrishnan, Siva Mahadevan, H Bharath Subramaniyam and M Pranesh (not present) became International Masters. Bharath Subramaniyam is only 14 and recorded a stunning 2700 rating performance in the Aeroflot Open in Moscow 2020. He also made a GM norm. Pranesh importantly comes from remote Karaikudi in interior Tamil Nadu.
Woman International Master Rakshitta Ravi (not present) completed her title and also won the World U-16 Girls title three months back. Her awards were received by her father and International Master T.S. Ravi.
Looking beyond the players, Grassroots Chess Promotions also awarded two coaches. Grand Master N Srinath for being Vice Captain of the Indian Olympiad team. The other awardee was Grand Master M Shyam Sundar, who trained the Indian Youth to win titles and medals in the Online FIDE events.
Most of India’s 67 Grand Masters hail from Tamil Nadu state, a Southern region in the Indian Sub-Continent as large as Greece in Europe.
Tamil Nadu and Greece also have a comparable GDP of around $260 billion too. However, Tamil Nadu has around three times the number of Grand Masters than Greece. Keeping the comparison going, Greek is the oldest documented language while Tamil is the oldest spoken language and both are oldest surviving classical languages today.
The 12 awardees received a garland and their name inscribed on stylish shields that they should treasure for a long time to come. The presentation of awards was done by All India Chess Federation Honorary Secretary Bharath Singh Chauhan who was also felicitated by the Rotary Club of Chennai, Velachery at the same venue.
The exclamation mark in the headline is due to Bharat Singh ending up honouring the players in a function where he was to be felicitated and honoured. He would not mind this since he is one of the player friendly administrators in the country.
The You Tube link to this event can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsxaMw6-ihw&feature=youtu.be Time: 1hr.18m https://youtu.be/UsxaMw6-ihw