India's first chess features print magazine published quarterly from Lucknow since 2004 by Aspire Welfare Society.
Showing posts with label chess. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chess. Show all posts

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Stunning Chess Novella: Lucknow's Romantic, Historical Legacy of Chess

Chess Club Black & White's Zainab Raza Undulusi caught up with Fide International Arbiter Naveen Karthikeyan to chat about his latest part-fiction, part-historical novella, 2. Zih-e-Lucknow#. Since we last met him two years ago, the twenty-something has not changed. He is still reclusive, still extremely shy and still in love with chess. That love has, however, grown!

Q: So, this is your fourth book and you've covered pretty much four different genres through chess — philosophy, children, fiction and history. What's the strategy?
A: Actually this is my fifth book. The first never got written that I began with in 2020! So much for planning. Just like for the rest of the world, everything has been tumultuous since Covid happened. I ended up in cities I had not thought of and in empty rooms talking to myself. I'm no guru or writer. The books happened as therapy in solitude.

Q: Your latest book has a huge and fascinating canvas. What is it about? Chess, history, love, Lucknow, kids, food, youngsters, humour... Senior citizens, culture...?
A: All. It's all linked through chess people! "Zih" happened specifically because of the chess players I met in Lucknow thanks to my contact with Chess Club Black & White (CCBW). I was surprised to hear about the deep cultural connection that Lucknow has with chess. It just had to be told. I still feel more could be written.

Q: How did you build the narrative? Are the characters real?
A: No author can be totally delinked from his human experience. That said, somewhere in the book, I lost track of all the characters. The fictional, historical, and the imaginary, all became too real. I enjoyed the process. I hope my readers do too. I sought permission from the real people to put them in the book as they are. It was essential to Karthik's journey. Initially, though, I had set out to only create a kind of historical record of chess players in Lucknow. My only intention was to make a website listing the names and a little about them. I just lost control. The book happened. Then, the surprising part is, it all also connects to India's Freedom Struggle. I found that super special and felt every chess player should know about this link.

Q: Both your novellas have women protagonists. Is there a reason for that? Is this a sequel?
A: Only one. Leila is one woman protagonist. In Zih, Karthik and Nawab Wajid Ali Shah are the male protagonists in the two separate timelines. The two books are not related. The numbering is just an idea based on chess notation.

Q: The bridging of 1856 and 2020 timelines — How did that happen?
A: Chess is so much a part of the Lucknow consciousness. Mention the word "shatranj (chess)" to a random stranger on the streets, and even if they have never touched a real chess set, they will immediately remark about Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, Premchand's iconic short story and the great Satyajit Ray film based on that. For me, the quirky personal connect happened when I found out that the Nawab was exactly my age when the British took over the Kingdom of Awadh in 1856. Then, back to the present, most of the children were whom I had met online during the lockdown. By some mysterious grace the characters and the novella just came to be.

Q: And, the Urdu poetry?
A: what can I say. That's not just about Urdu. You see, it's about the Lucknow air. The thing is either Lucknow makes everything romantic for you from having tea to meeting people or, it rejects you totally. Lucknow is a living city that embraces you with its passion if you are brave enough. Urdu is part of that passion. This I really cannot explain. (Smiles) Read my book, go to Lucknow and play a CCBW tournament!

Q: Both your novellas — 1. Leila# and 2. Zih-e-Lucknow# have free-spirited characters and you examine love, marriage and relationships in the non-traditional way. You project that love and relationships are not for keeps. Is that your observation of what is happening today?
A: I wouldn't say that's the correct interpretation. (Smiles). I do agree that I have witnessed a lot of fragile relationships around me. After all, relationships and career seem to be the focus in everyone's teens and twenties. However, what I want to say is, true love and committed relationships exist rarely because everyone's confusing physical or material attraction as love. I've tried to reach some kind of a definition for what is true love. I'm not sure I've succeeded. As my mentors say, I need to explore and study more and read more and I don't have any time to waste. I'm only a student. I need to work harder.

Q: Your mentors?
A: One is surely influenced by the people one meets. These can be through books we read, movies we watch or real people. International Master Akshat Khamparia, from Indore, is my teacher on and off the chessboard. Not only did he get me started on my Fide International Arbiter title, but his clarity of vision as an organiser is truly inspiring. No one can lead a team of polar opposite people as dynamically as he does. His Indore GM Open is going to be one of the great tournaments in the years to come like Moscow, London, Havana, St Louis, Hastings etc. His chess reflects that sparkling clarity as well. Then, GM Jonathan Rowson's books have had a profound impact upon me. GM Rowson's 100-year-project, Perspectiva, which is a collective of scholars, artists and activists working on "the pickle" through insight, praxis, realisation, and emergence is mind-boggling for me. I struggle to understand it but he's my modern philosophy hero. I hope I can be somewhat like him in the years to come both in chess and in thought. But, right now, I just have to study.

Q: And, cook?

A: (Laughs) Yes, as I say, in all my books. I think I was born to be a chef. The last letter just turned from "f," to a double "s" somehow. I do want to explore every single cuisine of the world. Again, I feel, I could have written more about the food in Lucknow.

Q: So, what next?
A: Hopefully, more studying, more writing, more chess, more meditation and more cooking.

*The book is available online for purchase in hard copy at all leading book stores for Rs 500. Ebook version coming soon. (Amazon, Flipkart, Clever Fox Publishing. Author website has an additional discount.)

Previous interview of the author. 
All books by the author:
— 18x64: Chess Class with Bhagavad Gita Shlokas
— Just eight pawns: A short story book for children - of all ages
— 1. Leila#
— 2. Zih-e-Lucknow#

Monday, January 15, 2024

Sumit Kumar Jha wins Charans Plaza Chess Cup 2023 in Lucknow

Lucknow: Former UP champion Sumit Kumar Jha (rated 1935) of Kanpur played a perfect 7/7 to win the Charans Plaza Chess Cup 2023 in Lucknow. Rated 1935, the Indian Bank assistant branch manager, currently posted in Bahraich, returning to professional chess after ten years said, "My best game was Arif Ali's Alekhine in the sixth round. It could have gone either way. It was very close. Ali faltered in time pressure."

Charans Plaza GM Narendra Sharma with prize winners at the Rs 10,000 Charans Plaza Chess Cup 2023 in Lucknow.

Top seed Arif Ali (2039), Lucknow's strongest senior player, was second with five points ahead of UP's top-rated junior Harshit Amarnani (1811) also scoring five. Harshit, currently studying at Asoka University, Sonepat, was playing right after winning the silver medal in the u1800 section at the Phuket Blue Chevaliers International Chess Open 2023.

Senior trainer Saeed Ahmad (5 points) won the +60 section followed by KK Kharey (4 points) and Mohd Irfan (3.5 points). Indrani Basu, grandmother of former state champion Sameer, was first in the +60 women's category.

In the +18 women's category, unrated Vartika R Verma (4 points) was first followed by Aiman Akhtar (3 points).

General Manager, Charans Plaza, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Narendra Sharma, gave away the prizes. Fide International Arbiter PN Naveen Karthikeyan presented his book "18x64 Chess with Bhagavad Gita shlokas" to young participants of the tournament.

Open top-standings: Sumit Kumar Jha 7 points, Arif Ali, Harshit Amarnani, Anchal Rastogi, Arjun Singh 5 pts, Rajendra Kumar, Ravi Shankar 4.5 pts, Anirudh Dwivedi, Aditya Tandon, Tejas Krishna T 4 pts.

Age-group winners:

U9 1st-3rd Vivaan Agarwal 4 points, Akshat Srivastava 3.5, Shahab Mural Alam, Yuvaan Grover 3 pts.

U13 1st-3rd Aarav Garv 6.5 pts, Abhinav Verma, Ujjwal Raj Srivastava, Samyak Sagar, Shubh Sahai, Tahaan Khan 5 pts, Anant Mohan, Aaryav Yogesh, Arjun Garg 4 pts.

U17 1st-3rd Anvitha Verma 6 pts, Aqrab Alam, Ariz Hussain, Aaradhy Gupta 5.5 pts, Arnav Tripathi 5 pts.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Seven Indians in Top 100 of World Chess

New Delhi, Nov. 1: For the first time in the history of Indian chess, as many as seven players have made it into the Top 100 of world chess.
 K Sasikiran made this feat possible by beating Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia) in the fifth round of the FIDE Grand Swiss Chess 2021 on Sunday. It lifted his rating to 2649 and helped him re-enter the elite list.

V Anand (2751), Vidit Gujrathi (2727), P. Harikrishna (2718), Nihal Sarin (2659), SL Narayanan (2658) and B Adhiban (2653) are the other six players in the Top 100.

“This is a very proud moment for India,” AICF president Dr. Sanjay Kapoor said. “We have steadily been cementing our position as one of the top nations in the world of chess,” he added.

“A big thank you to 2700chess and @fide_chess for maintaining the statistics,” AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said.

Russia has 23 players in the Top 100, USA 10, China 9, Ukraine and India have 7 each. 

The average rating of Top 10 players of Russia is 2731, USA 2712, China 2699 and India 2671.

Ten Indian players are currently in action in the Open category of the FIDE Grand Swiss 2021 while five women are in fray in their class. -- AICF

Monday, June 7, 2021

India Age-Group Online Chess from June 10

The National Age Group Online Chess Championships 2021 will be held from 10 June 21 to 03 July 21. The championships will serves as selection event for the FIDE Online Youth & Cadet World Cup 2021. 

The championships will serves as selection event for the FIDE Online Youth & Cadet World Cup 2021.

The championships will serves as selection event for the FIDE Online Youth & Cadet World Cup 2021.

The categories are: 

Under-18 Open & Girls

Under-16 Open & Girls

Under-14 Open

Under-14 Girls

Under-12 Open

Under-12 Girls

Under-10 Open

Under-10 Girls

You can find all the brochures at the All-India Chess Federation official website.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Aicf to Start Indian Chess League, Bid for Chess Olympiad

New Delhi, February 14: The newly elected president of the All-India Chess Federation, Dr Sanjay Kapoor, unveiled a blueprint to turn the country into a chess superpower here on Sunday, starting with the decision to bid for the next available Chess Olympiad and commencing a high-profile Indian Chess League soon.
Caption: The newly-elected president of the All India Chess Federation Sanjay Kapoor (second from left) was felicitated at the start of the Annual General Body meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. Also seen are, from left, AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, Delhi Chess Association secretary A K Verma and AICF treasurer Naresh Sharma.

"We want India to become the chess destination for the world. We have drawn out a detailed plan to achieve this goal,” Dr Kapoor said at a press conference, immediately after a power-packed AGM.
He revealed that a foolproof bid would soon be prepared to bag the coveted world event as and when the process would begin.
“For a long time, we have been keen on starting the Indian Chess League with an international flavour to popularise the game even more. The first edition, following the franchise-model, will be organised before this year is through,” Dr Kapoor, who is also the chairman of the Kanpur Cricket Association, said.
Dr Kapoor added that the AGM had also decided to host the Women’s Grand Prix, which is an important part of the world women’s championship cycle, to give a huge boost to women players in the country.
“Not just that, we are also going to initiate an AICF-Chess in Schools program to popularise chess at the school level. All our 33-State affiliates will be implementing this simultaneously. We want every school-going kid in India to play chess. This will help in developing smarter future generations, thanks to the life-skill benefits that come naturally from the game,” Dr Kapoor said.
Among the other major decisions taken at the AGM are: single window registration for all players, establishment of a Centre of Excellence and Organisation of a Super Tournament.
“The Super Tournament will see many top-level players in action. It will give our higher-ranked GMs an opportunity to compete with the best in business at home while also help upcoming youngsters improve by watching them from close quarters,” Dr Kapoor explained.
Honorary secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan underpinned the importance of the single window registration process too, saying that from now on every player will be registered for his or her district, State as well the AICF itself.
“The Centre of Excellence will help tap and train talent at the grassroots level, with the ultimate vision of infusing at least 10 players from India in the Top 50 rankings of the world,” Mr Chauhan said.

Friday, July 17, 2020

800 Years of Chess Art in One Book: Amazing Research by Peter Herel Raabenstein
Chess has been a royal discipline for more than 1000 years…

“Chess teaches us that even when everything seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always hoping for a change for the better, steadfastly continue searching for the solutions to our problems.” Benjamin Franklin

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a very good or an average chess player, or prefer to watch the game from a distance with one of your loved ones who succumbed to the chess game, you still belong to a very prestigious circle of people. Only the initiate knows what such a true and genuine “game” entails.

Like any thing that has stood the test of time, chess has evolved and has influenced many personalities during that time. Chess can be seen as a tool that allows you to penetrate human development - artistic, social, political, industrial and technological. This game has been able to influence society for centuries. 

Peter Herel Raabenstein, a conceptual artist from the Czech Republic, realized the same thing. Chess has been his passion since 2003, when he was looking for a suitable gift for his uncle who loves chess, art and history. Peter decided to buy a special book for his uncle, but later found that no one had ever published any such publication. Finally, he collected 12 portraits on chess and made them a calendar. Uncle was enthusiastic and advised him not to give up his vision of creating a book that would connect the world of chess and art.

In the following years Peter continued his studies and deepened his artistic and chess knowledge. In 2009 he met his friend at the Wijk aan Zee chess tournament and introduced him his project. His friend liked the idea very much and the result was an epilogue for his book, which had not existed at the time. Soon after, both artists had to break up, but Peter was fascinated by the symbolism of chess and was still working on his book. 

“Enthusiastic reactions and support from my surroundings motivated me to complete the project. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I couldn't stop and actually disappoint every lover of chess and art”, explains Peter Herel Raabenstein, author of the publication. 

Now after 10 years, he can finally introduce you to a unique publication “Chess in art” with a collection of chess themes. On 320 pages, the author captured 800 years of development through paintings by more than 700 artists with a detailed description of how they perceived kings' play through art. The book simply delights every chess player, painting and history. In other words, life is composed of various battles and not from just the chess battles. 

The book “Chess in art” will give you a few unforgettable moments when you will feel like a king for at least a moment. The author and the whole team behind the creation of this publication wish you not to get checkmate, not only on the chessboard but also in your life 


Saturday, May 9, 2020

Escape from Covid to Chess Planet: Play with CCBW

No stopping the chess, but parents must counsel kids to not go overboard and stay safe online, writes Shilpa Mehra

Lucknow: While the world shut down, the chess community went berserk. The world's top chess websites saw traffic treble in just a few hours.

The scene here in Lucknow on first day of lockdown: We quickly created a WhatsApp group, set up an online page, pinged our friends at chess clubs in Dehradun, Chennai, Madrid and London, got zoom meeting app going and life was set.

By 5 pm a serious tournament with Anna Nagar Chess Academy (ANCA) Chennai was on. Right after that at 7 pm the gang headed to the Etlantis Club Dehradun blitz evening practice session and midnight was for show of strength in Mexico City at the Ajedrez en lĂ­nea event. The gang included 6-70 year olds with Silentman and Lizzyosmond leading the boys and girls charge.

For once, no school, no work and we could play into forever.

While the rest of the world wondered what to do with tension, fear and questions, we had escaped to another planet under the guidance of idiamin100!

Arbiter and professional chess trainer, Naveen Karthikeyan would know: "As a chess trainer I can tell you, every single chess kid is happy right now anywhere in the world. We study chess professionally in Chennai even during school days but this is full steam ahead. We are practicing and studying almost round the clock and with chess players of all strengths across the world."

Karthikeyan says, "The best part is our kids at the ANCA and CCBW are not only competing among themselves and with kids in other cities, but are also getting a chance now to grab games with Grandmasters and International Masters who are all also playing online in lockdown."

The schedule is set.
CCBW friend, journalist and chess player from Chandigarh, Jupinderjit Singh, tunes in via zoom for banter blitz of crazy fun with kids shouting out moves to his opponents on video chat. Banter blitz is when a senior player takes on one opponent at a time and plays while explaining his thought processes aloud as a chess teaching method.

International Master Nubairshah Sheikh tunes in from Mumbai for serious chess study with intermediate students of CCBW even though it's fasting time in Ramzan. Just 21 with GM norms, Nubair is sure to be Grandmaster as soon as mortar-n-brick venue tournaments resume. The children already call him GM!
Tiger201, aka Rohit Rana, holds our place at the evening blitz at Etlantis Chess Club in Dehradun. Our in-house organiser, Resistiré scourges the net for chess events on the hour. There are tournaments of varying time controls happening every minute. We don't want to sleep.

Yet, it's an online world so quick tips to stay safe:
- keep security settings safe in WhatsApp group so as not to be added automatically to random chess groups mushrooming all around
- be careful about playing tournaments with entry fee as online payment gateway needs to be used; plenty of great free tournaments around though
- discuss with your coach how and what chess activities to join in as there's a boom in choices
- discuss time controls and specific events with your trainer lest you catch an online playing addiction
- discuss all privacy issues with your kid about online behaviour including not divulging private and contact details to strangers online
- rationing online time and checking eye strain
- draw up specific schedule for eating, sleeping and exercise otherwise this may get a tad out of hand
- online cheating is a reality, face it without anger. Choose to hang out with the right people as real chess lovers don't cheat. If you suspect someone of cheating, submit their name to the website online moderator for evaluation

Meanwhile, this Sunday 8 pm we are at the Ajedrez con Cabeza Club in Madrid on a special invitation by Pedro M. Vincente to compete with chess teams from Spanish-speaking countries Cuba, Argentina, Spain, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Mexico. After the 5 +2 one hour tourney, we will do a ten minute zoom session to cheer everyone and plan to meet in person when the magic returns to the real world.

Want to join Chess Club Black and White team for the Sunday tournament?

Join here on lichess and send real name to resistire in lichess for approval.

The tourney link will be sent to you after Id approval.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Mind Training Chess App: Psychologist Bjarne Eiholt, WFM Louise Fredericia

Improve your chess by mental training 
Introducing the MindMaster App

For decades it has been common practice in physical sports to use mental training as a means to improve performance. In some mental sports as well, like bridge and poker, mental training has become a common training tool. In chess however, the benefits of mental training are uncommon and underestimated.
Until now, a mental training program for chess players hasn´t been available, but with the recent release of the MindMaster App, it is now! Chess players now have the opportunity to use mental training just like other athletes in physical and mental  sport have done for years with good results. The purpose of the MindMaster App is to provide chess players with strategies to feel more at ease, focused, self-confident and motivated when they play chess. In this introduction, we will give you an insight into mental chess training and why we believe you can improve your chess by mental training using the MindMaster App.

Why mental chess training?
A wise man once said: The most dangerous weapon of a chess player is his mind. To this he could have added: The only weapon of a chessplayer is his mind. It follows that the more you work on the mind the better it will work for you, just as a sword must be sharpened before a battle.  No matter how many chess books you read, or how many hours you spend preparing your opening, such work cannot prevent you from losing your confidence and nerves, or help you to rebound after a defeat and focus and concentrate during your game.
In certain situations, a chess player’s mind can trick him to the point where he misses moves that he would easily have seen in a blitz game. In situations where there are high stakes at risk chess players tend to miss mates, give away pieces, lose track of time or lose focus on the board.
Sometimes you can hear statements like these from chess players before a game:
- I always play badly against a lower rated - or higher rated - player.
- When I lose, I cannot motivate myself to move on for the next game, and then I tend to lose that one too.
- I can already see myself mess it up in the middle game because my opponent is such an annoying player.
- I’m so nervous – how can I focus and concentrate?
- I haven’t slept all night because I lost yesterday.
- I gave away a piece yesterday, so I’m an easy victim today

Now the interesting question with regard to mental training is:
Who is surprised when these scenarios actually come true and the one who stated them losses?
The list is – almost – endless on how chess players’ expectations to the game, preparations and sleep can be disturbed and affected. No matter how long the list above may become, the bottom line is the same: in situations where you perform way below your normal level, it is not because you suddenly have become a bad chess player and lost your chess skills. You perform below average level because of your poor mindset.
Now the answer to the question above shouldn’t be that difficult – should it?

What to gain with mental chess training?
When you start mental chess training, the aim is that your average level of performance will increase. The increase in performance is caused by an improved mental condition and mindset.
Our users tell us in feedback that they sleep better, that their loses affect them less and that they are able to focus better on the next game. Others have sensed a good feeling of mental preparation and fewer nerves, which has lasted throughout the game. Others tell us that they have felt in a strong winning mode, which has made them play with more energy and belief in themselves.
The mental training sessions in the MindMaster App have different themes. It is therefore the user’s choice what to focus on, and thereby what to gain. Focus, concentration, increased confidence prior to an event, the proper mental state for competing – there are many different effects of the mental chess training. The effect will depend on how often, how much and how the training is used. The more you use it, the better it will work.

What does the MindMaster App contain?
The MindMaster App is developed for tournament players, regardless of strength. It contains no opening theory, no advice on the latest novelty in Ruy Lopez, no explanation of chess technicalities, strategy or structure. It can be used by any chess player.

The app contains 15 sessions of spoken text, with optional background music, spread over three categories of themes of mental training:

Optimise your thought processes – 6 sessions
Deal with distracting thoughts – 6 sessions
Achieve mental wellness – 3 sessions

Each session has its own specific aim well recognised by tournament players. Examples are:  move on after a defeat, regulate your use of time, control your nervousness,  play your game when it is best, prepare mentally for your game.
The sessions in the first two categories incorporate three elements, each serving their own purpose:
Physicality: Breathing and deep relaxation of body and mind. The relaxation will get you in the right state of mind.
Visualization: You visualize different scenarios, based on the idea that if you can imagine it, you will be able to do it.
Repetition of a statement: You make a statement, based on the idea that if you can tell it to yourself, you can also make it happen.
The sessions in the third category (achieve mental wellness) are mainly about getting your mind to be calm so that you can stress down or get help to fall asleep.

If you are interested in the idea of improving your chess by mental training you can visit our homepage: Here you can try a free sample of a session Prepare mentally for your game. On the homepage you can also find details and further information.

The MindMaster App has its own FB-page: Mental Chess training. Here you can post questions or commentaries.
The MindMaster App is available on App Store and Google Play and costs 7 Euro.
The authors of the app are Bjarne Eiholt, who is a chess player and psychologist, and WFM Louise Fredericia, who is a chess player and mental trainer.

-- By Bjarne Eiholt and WFM Louise Fredericia

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sponsorship Potential of Chess Untapped: Agon Gets YouGov Survey

Press Release: Chess has been under the radar for the last 40 years since Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky fought the Cold War for us in Reykjavik. But outside the glare of the media spotlight chess players now make up one of the largest communities in the world: 605 million adults play chess regularly – a number comparable to regular users of Facebook.

According to authoritative polling organization YouGov, across varied national demographic profiles (US, UK, Germany, Russia, India), a surprisingly stable 70% of the adult population has played chess at some point during their lives. Even if they played as children but left it behind as they grew up, they still retain a deep admiration for the game.

Across the board, chess players and non-players alike rank chess significantly higher than any other game or sport for attributes such as intelligence, sophistication, strategy, perfection and complexity confirming top branding agency Pentagram’s view: “Chess is about Thinking and Winning.”

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sharapova Wants to Play Chess

Russia's Maria Sharapova has beaten Italy's Sara Errani to lift her first French Open tennis title. Check out an old entry on Maria Sharapova's FB page:

Here is what I was doing while in no, not playing chess, just taking walks in some of the parks and pretending like I knew what I was doing with a chess board. Would be nice to learn...perhaps it will help my patience. - Maria Sharapova

Chess is always the big sports star!



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