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Checkmate - A Fictional Thriller by Nihshanka Debroy

by Shahid Ahmed - 08/07/2020

Chess is the only sport in the history of mankind which has hundreds of thousands books written on it. While most of them are based on theory, psychological and practical aspect of the game, it is safe to say that the amount of fiction written about the game is comparatively less. Meet Nihshanka Debroy, an Indian born author currently residing near Atlanta, Georgia launched a fictional take on the origin of the game with two parallel storylines. Sounds interesting right? Well the book is out now on Amazon India in Paperback, Audio book and Kindle format. Curious to know about the author? Well we have asked a few questions to the author to find out more about him. Photo: Amazon India and Nihshanka

From Burdwan, West Bengal to Atlanta, Georgia

There is no dearth about the theoretical and practical books and materials on chess. However the amount fiction written on chess and its history is quite less, if we say a handful then it wouldn't be far fetched. So when I got to know that a fiction on chess was released by an Indian author on 29th June, I had to find out more about him and the book.

Checkmate by Nihshanka Debroy | Photo: Amazon India and Nihshanka

SA: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

ND: I was born in Burdwan, India and spent most of my childhood in Delhi. I landed up in the US in 2001 for college – I moved from Arkansas to North Carolina to Colorado Springs and then to Georgia. I’m now based near Atlanta working for a global pharmaceutical company in the analytics space.

Chess was a big part of my childhood – I used to attend chess-classes, spent hours on chess-homework and competed with several opponents who are now international masters and grandmasters. I am a former Under-12 Delhi chess champion, and I represented Delhi twice at the national level, once for the Under-12 Boys and a second time for the Under-14 Boys. After that, I took a break from chess.


SA: Can you please let us know what this book is about?

ND: ‘Checkmate’ is a fictional account of the origins of chess with two parallel storylines, one set in AD 455 and the other set in modern times. But ‘Checkmate’ expanded far beyond my initial vision. Apart from being a work of historical fiction, my debut book connects with the reader on certain universal themes – the bonds of familial love, a woman straining out of the large shadow of her father’s success, a son’s boundless devotion to his mother. Grief and loss, heroism and unwavering will, and the extent to which we go to save our loved ones and their memories.


SA: What was the inception of your book? Who/what inspired you to write it?

ND: After approximately a decade-long break from chess, I landed up in the chilly city of Colorado Springs for an internship. In a new place and with not as many acquaintances, I found my way back to chess. But this time, I asked more questions. Questions such as – when did chess originate? Do we know who created it? And why? Surely, a game whose sole purpose was to destroy the opposition had an origin drenched in conflict. I searched everywhere for the origin of chess, read the mammoth ‘A History of Chess’ by H. J. R. Murray. However, I still had no answer. That is when I began to imagine what might have been.

A History of Chess by H J R Murray | Photo: Amazon US

SA: Since you chose the title 'Checkmate' I suppose chess holds a significant part in your life. Can you please tell what is the reason behind it?

ND: Chess was a formative part of my childhood and has taught me so much about life – resilience, composure when under pressure, strategic thinking. Most importantly, chess taught me never to give up, to hold my defence when under fierce attack. Sometimes, against better players, my pieces would be forced into terrible positions. But when my opponent’s attack fizzled out, I would find a way to improve my position move by move. I won many of those games.

Over the years, I have been glad to observe India’s rising presence in the chess world – we have so many grandmasters and international masters now.


SA: Thank you for taking the answer all these and I wish you good luck with the book and also your future endeavors.

ND: Thank you for reaching out.

A short clip where the author Nihshanka Debroy introduces his book | Video: Nihshanka's page
Publisher Westland Books announces the launch of the book

The book is now available in Paperback, Audiobook and Kindle format in Amazon India.


Nihshanka Debroy: Official site, facebook and twitter

Coverage by: The Hindu, Scroll and Outlook

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