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1st Eco Camp in the lap of Himalayas

by Sagar Shah - 02 May 2017

When a chess camp is held the students are taught different strategies related to the game of chess. It could be how to handle an IQP position, or how Najdorf is played, or the secrets of rook endgames! However, former Commonwealth Champion IM Atanu Lahiri thinks that it is important to have a more holistic approach. Chess players are a part of the society, and so along with chess they should be taught a few more things. What exactly are those things? Read on to know more!

​19 students from Himachal and Delhi participated in a seven day life changing residential camp on the Himalayas from 17th to 23rd March 2017. Conceptualized by noted chess trainer IM Atanu Lahiri, the players were subjected to uninterrupted educative sessions on chess, meditation, motivation, physical training and environmental awareness in the lap of snow clad Himalayas. ​Sudarshan Sharma, Secretary of Himachal Pradesh Chess Association, made all the necessary arrangements for the smooth organization of the camp.

The pristine beauty of Old Manali in Himachal Pradesh

The white building is Hotel Treebo Celebrity located in Old Manali where all the students were given accommodation. The hotel is located in an apple orchard overlooking the River Beas!

Sudarshan Sharma, the Secretary of Himachal Pradesh Chess Association, welcomes noted mental trainer Mrinal Chakraborty. Without Sudarshan's efforts this camp would not have been possible to organize.

The two trainers of the camp: IM Atanu Lahiri and Mrinal Chakraborty. Atanu is the former Commonwealth Champion and Mrinal is one of the foremost sports mental trainers of the country

Atanu shows the students some classical games. Can there be a more pristine and beautiful place to study chess! That's the Naggar castle in Manali.

A small glimpse of the chess session at the Naggar castle.

Yes, he can fly! Mrinal Chakraborty captivated the students and guardians with his mesmerizing presentations and meditation sessions.

Noted enviournmentalist and social worker Mr. Budhha Ram Sharma helped the participants connect with nature. He told the students about the enviornmental benefits of tree plantation. Only theory is not enough. You must put what you learn into practice! The highlight of the camp was when the children trekked three kilometers on the slope of a mountain to plant sapling of Akhnoor tree with help from the local community.

What better deed than to plant a tree!

Students learnt the importance of preserving nature by planting trees on the slopes of the mountains

​The participants were taken for an excursion to the heritage village of Naggar, about 40 Kilometers from Manali where the students visited the Museum of Nicholas Roerich the famous Russian painter, writer, archaeologist and philosopher who settled in the valley in the last century.

Nicholas Roerich found Naggar so mesmerisingly beautiful that he spent the last few years of his life in Himachal Pradesh. He has a minor planet 4426 named after him!

Sight seeing through trekking was fun and at the same time good to build up stamina

Atanu Lahiri explains the importance of physical fitness and stamina in chess

All participants captured in one frame

​For most participants,this camp is likely to be a life changing experience. Whether such holistic approach to chess training will produce future champions is to be seen, but for sure, such approach is likely to help the participants grow up to be successful in their personal life.

IM Atanu Lahiri is the secretary of West Bengal Chess Association. He left his job at LIC so that he can focus on his task as the secretary better and promote chess in his state and India. ChessBase India congratulates him for his unique ideas, enthusiasm and vision for the promotion of the game in the country. 

A special mention must be made about All India Chess Federation (AICF) who helped to fund the camp and also provided Rs.150 per day to each of the participants.

Know more about the concept of Eco camp through this 18 minute Facebook live video

The circular of the camp

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