Champions Combat Corona - Aradhya Garg
To find out how the champions are dealing with the global pandemic Covid-19, we decided to start a new series titled Champions Combat Corona where the current National Champions talks about how they are coping with the unprecedented adversity. In this article, the current National Junior (Under-19) Open champion Aradhya Garg of Delhi, talks about how he is spending his lockdown days. How he was wishing that the pandemic wouldn't reach India, playing online tournaments regularly, reading various books as well as enriching himself to explore his philosophical side. We also take a look at one of his online Blitz game win against IM Harshit Raja. Photo: Amruta Mokal
The Adversity Adaptation
By Aradhya Garg
The lockdown period that has come to India was not really expected by me. I was wishing that though it has reached some Western countries, it would not reach India. I am surprised how drastic the situation has become. I had plans of participating in Dubai Open and Sharjah Masters 2020 but those plans were halted as both the tournaments were cancelled.
During these days, I am consistently and extensively working on my chess. I enjoy playing tournaments on various websites like Lichess.org, Chess.com and PlayChess.com. Although most of the tournaments are Blitz events, I relish the prospects of playing against strong opponents even if in the Blitz format. These opportunities were not there as often during normal circumstances. This surely is a blessing in disguise as we did not get a chance to play against stronger opposition so consistently. Besides Blitz, I also have been playing some Rapid tournaments organised by Chessteams.com and participated in two good Rapid tournaments organized by my friend Vedant Panesar.
I am working on improving my chess by watching online games, attending online camps as well as attending lectures that are being streamed by various academies. I am also spending time reading books (both chess and inspirational), and finished reading “Mind Master” by Anand Sir along with “Practical Chess Psychology” by Mr. Amatzia Avni. These books impressed me greatly.
The book “Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov Part II” tremendously impressed and inspired me, which talks in detail about the kind of mindset one should have in order to achieve great heights in one’s career. I am currently reading ‘Rafa-My Story’ by Rafael Nadal and the journalist John Carlin.
This lockdown period has made me much more circumspect and self-aware more than I earlier was. Also, I am working on my areas of improvement. As one of my uncles said, “If at the end of the Lockdown period, you do not come out of it with more skills, more knowledge, you never lacked time, you just lacked discipline”.
I am trying to find answers to questions I have always wanted to explore, and have somewhat become more philosophical. For physical fitness, I exercise daily and keep fit by stretching and dancing. Meditation continues to be a daily ritual of mine, which I have been practicing consistently for four years now.
We often have family gatherings on Zoom and play board games like Tambola or Ludo with each other. I am enjoying this family time and look forward to playing online board games.
I am exploring the mentality of a champion very often and do not want to allow the lockdown period to stop the drive one must have to achieve sustainable success. I am trying to be much more consistent in my efforts and am trying to learn as much and be more intensive and focus completely while also develop holistically as a person in various facets of my personality.
I am missing the regular classic tournaments, and wish that if the Asian and World Junior Chess Championships are not held this year, I would be allowed to play in these tournaments next year or when the Championships resume also as I do believe that I deserve a chance to represent my country.
I am also developing a liking towards Classical Music and am fond of listening to melodies and Sitar played by the Sitar maestro Mrs. Anoushka Shankar. I am trying to gain insights from various things I am observing and want them to benefit me tremendously. I do believe that the time of the pandemic affecting me was unfortunate as I was playing well but as they say,
"Anything that does not kill you only makes you stronger" and I wish that I and the whole chess community comes out stronger from this pandemic.
One of the best wins of Aradhya during this time was against IM Harshit Raja (Johncking) in Sultan Khan Cup 2020.