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CBIJ #09: Seven-year-olds who will make India proud in the years to come!

by Avathanshu Bhat - 08/08/2018

This week's edition of CBIJ brings to you the exciting news on the Nationals Under-7 that took place in Tumkur, Karnataka. Read about the little champs and hear what they have to say! We talk to the champions Amogh Bisht and Lakshana Subramanian. Find out who is the most important person, without who our players wouldn't be who they are today. We interview seven different coaches from different parts of India - Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and so on and get to know how is it that they spot talents and work with them. Last week's trivia was about your favourite chess book! We narrowed down on a winner. This week we have a trivia related to the coaches and the winner gets a chance to get his games assessed by an IM! Don't miss the 9th edition of CBIJ by Avathanshu Bhat!

Under-7 Nationals, Tumkur, Karnataka:

The Under-7 Nationals are always a very special event. I am sure a lot of us have confused or awestruck memories of their first Nationals tournament. My first Nationals was really the first time I was exposed to such an atmosphere. This years Nationals U-7 was very well organised by Mandya Chess Academy and held in the large hall, Bandimane Kalyana Mantapa in Tumkur, Karnataka. The venue was astonishing and the trophies were glamorous; what more could one want in a Nationals? Such details allow the players to have their full focus on the board, which was definitely the case here. Special thanks to Mandya Chess Academy, Manjunath and Madhuri Jain for hosting such a memorable and successful event.

The winner of under-7 open - Amogh Bisht

Amogh Bisht, a 7 year old chess player,  won the Nationals U-7 that took place in Tumkur, Karnataka. He scored 9.5 points out of 11 rounds and finished with a half point lead after some scintillating games against his opponents. We asked the boy some questions. Here is what he said:


Avathanshu Bhat (AB): Congratulations for winning the Nationals U-7. How do you feel being the champion?

Amogh Bisht (AmB): I am very much happy and it's indeed a proud moment for my parents, my coaches (Raghavendra V and Manjunath J) and all my chess friends.

AB: Since how long are you playing chess?

AmB: I have been playing chess since the age of 3.5 years. I played my first tournament at age of 4.8 yrs and later I received my first FIDE Standard rating of 1071 at age of 5.8 years. This was my 3rd National U-7 Chess Championship. I played U-7 national chess championship at Puducherry in 2016 at age of 5 yrs and stood first in under 5 category scoring 6 points from 11 rounds. I have also played U-7 National chess championship at Vijayawada in 2017 and secured overall rank of 16 with 7.5 points out of 11 rounds.

AB: What made you like the game?

AmB: Chess is full of action, planning and tactics. You are the king of your army and you have to make plans to win against opponent's king.


AB: What other hobbies do you have apart from chess?

AmB: I like to solve jigsaw puzzle and play with my Lego construction set. In outdoor activity, I play badminton and go for swimming.


AB: How long do you work on chess every day?

AmB: In general, I practice 1 to 1.5 hours everyday on chess either playing online games or learning new concepts with my father. I go to chess academy (Karnataka School of Chess) for 2 hours twice per week.


AB: What is your daily routine?

AmB: I attend school from 8 a.m. to 3:30 pm. After school, I play with my friends in my society for an hour. Later in evening I play online chess game or attend chess class (twice a week). Usually, I go to bed at 9 pm.


AB: What do you want to become?

AmB: I want to become a GM.


AB: What would you become if not a chess player?

AmB: If not a chess player then I want to become a research scientist and explore new species of dinosaurs.


AB: Who is your idol?

AmB: Vishy Anand is my favourite chess player and a role model.


Here is one of his favourite games that he won against the top seed in the under-7 section Jaivardhan Raj (who also is a tremendous talent, and finished 2nd):

Lakshana Subramanian

A cheerful National Champion and World Schools Champion in the form of Lakshana for you! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Lakshana is the winner of Nationals U-7 in the girls section. She scored 10 points out of the 11 rounds, and played some great chess. In fact, she has been playing chess for one and half years now, and she was inspired to play by her sister S. Indira Priya Darshini who plays well and gets trophies! She wants to become a GM in chess someday and, with that in mind, works for around 2-4 hours everyday. Apart from chess, she also likes drawing and cycling and if given a chance to be something apart from a chess player, she would be a doctor. If you would like to know more about this budding talent, please check out this link!

The story behind the above video: It was done in January 2018 at the Chennai Open by IM Sagar Shah. At that point of time Lakshana had not won all the titles that came in the next six months. But Amruta Mokal, who was just walking across the tournament venue, saw something in this girl that made her feel that she was special. Amruta spoke to the six-year-old who had taken the brave decision of playing in the Chennai Open 2018 and asked her points. The answer she was expecting was zero. But the girl had already scored two points. (She went on to score 2.5/10). The girl was not only bold in playing the event, but also smart in answering the questions! This led Amruta to urge Sagar to shoot this video. Little did we know that immediately after it, Lakshana went on to become the National Schools under-7 champion, World Schools under-7 champion and now the National under-7 champion! Talk about spotting talents!

Coaches of India:

Just recently, Guru Purnima went by on July 27th. The occasion is celebrated as the day when coaches are honored for their deeds. All the great players of the day would have had a much harder struggle at getting where they are without a mentor. The whole world is indebted to coaches, as nobody would be able to pass on their knowledge without taking up the mantle of a trainer. I have only one thing to say for my coaches, they are an inseparable part of me and always stand tall by my side.


I like to think of coaches as a lamp in the dark; they guide you through to your success, while keeping at bay the dark. They will help you perfect an art and open up more possibilities which you couldn't have before. Always remember, that at the end of the day, after any kind of prize that you win in a field, it is your coaches who should be credited for your achievements, as they will always share a tangible amount of work put into the preparation. I believe that if anyone, it is the coaches that can really tell the real strength and potential of a child. It is them that know the players better than anyone. Hence, we decided to ask a few coaches 3 questions:


1. How do you decide the potential of a new child before shaping him up?

2. What makes you happy when teaching your students?

3. What is your one-line tip for students before a crucial round? 

These were the replies we received! (Note: we have also included additional information if provided)

GM RB Ramesh:

World-famous and India-famous RB Ramesh! | Photo: David Llada

When I work with a player, during the classes I try to observe how the player is concentrating, analyzing positions, the kind of moves they come up with or the moves they miss, their interest in finding moves or analyzing chess positions. These parameters usually give us clear idea about the interest the player has in chess, especially to make improvement in their strength. Only very few children usually show interest in learning the game, most want to get great results at the earliest, without going through the grind or willing to put up customary effort, nothing more.

It is very heartening to work with players who love the game, enjoy everything about it, willing to struggle and come up in life. When I get the feeling that I have helped a child learn something useful, it gives enormous satisfaction. Nothing like it.


Usually I don't believe in giving advice just before the game, I believe in many cases it will only add to the pressure of the player. If I still have to give then: You will only get what you deserve, nothing more nothing less, if you want more then give even more.

IM Vishal Sareen

The coach of players like GM Parimarjan Negi, GM Abhijeet Gupta and WGM Tania Sachdev has something to say! | Photo: David Llada

I am nobody to decide the potential of a child. In my opinion, every child has equal potential. If I am going to teach something, from my side I have to be very clear that the child can do whatever he/she wants. I like the look on students's faces after they learn something new; they'll be smiling and that makes me happy. "Do your best" has always been my one line tip!

IM Sharad Tilak:

Mumbaicha favorite, IM Sharad Tilak! | Photo: Sagar Shah

I think it is not possible to judge the student without an interaction. The thing to see is their past results and achievements. It makes me happiest when the student asks some interesting questions. I always tell them, "go to the game with confidence".

GM Vishnu Prasanna:

He was Adhiban's second during Tata Steel Masters 2017,and trains a bunch of highly talented youngsters like Gukesh, Pranav and many others | Photo: Amruta Mokal

I judge new students based on how long they can sit at the board, and see their concentration lapse. My favourite thing during coaching is when they ask interesting questions on their own and get their own ideas. "Just treat it like any other round!" is what I like to say.

IM Neeraj Kumar Mishra:

Innumerable talents have become champions under his tutelage - Neeraj Kumar Mishra

How much time they can sit at the board, and the level of concentration they show. I feel it is wrong to judge them on the quality of the moves as they are new students. I love it when they ask interesting questions, when they are interactive, also because it helps me to understand what they are thinking. I tell them to play with the basics and concepts in mind and not see who the opponent is. I also think parents play an important role from ages 7-12, as their co-operation and patience is important. After that age, they will make their own decision on the game, and I think they should stand by it.

IM Prathamesh Mokal:

My trainer, and the person who has influenced my game in a big way | Photo: Amruta Mokal

I go through the games of students and I give them some exercises of various nature, such as positional, tactical, endgame and strategic. Then I decide what's right, wrong and what needs improvement, and I work on that. I am happiest when I know they are giving their best over the board. It takes a long time to get better at chess, so I am happy when they enjoy the learning process. My one-line tip to students is to "stay calm and enjoy the game"!

IM Roktim Bandyopadhyay:

A lot of youngsters these days are making their GM and IM norms, and we hear Roktim's name quite often as the man who trained them!

Games are useful and self-analysed game tells me more (to be done without any assistance). Then analysis of the games at the board face to face. Along with this I have a personal set of collected positions on various themes for them, all this makes the picture more clear. Of course it's not only chess, out of chess qualities are very important, and that ultimately makes a great player, so after a week of personal class I more or less get a complete idea about the potential of the player ( in approximately 5-7 days, but for some individuals it takes more), chess-wise and as a human being. So basically these are the things, but from time to time I also try different work methods on this subject on different students. Once I understand a child completely, then the real work begins.

I am happiest when the student during the class remains concentrated and focused even with distractions, when a student is ready for any punishment for negligence in homework or lack of seriousness during class, and chess-wise when they  understand a thing or two without my explanation, this makes me happy.


Usually I don't interact with students during tournament as such, but sometimes I do. I always tell two things, to have faith on own strength and remain focused. Also I suggest not to use internet during tournament.


Hello there! Welcome back to the Trivia section. Last time, we asked this question, "Which is your favorite chess book, and why?" We got some very nice replies, which can be read here.


The person with the best write-up is Tanmay Srinath, who we have elected as the winner for the following:

"There is only one book that has captivated me, and that is Mikhail Tal's 'Life and Games.' His witty and elegant style of penmanship leaves an inedible mark on people. He teaches us that a chess game need not be perfect to be beautiful. His wins look like swindles at first, but on deeper inspection the Magician of Riga has posed serious practical problems. His thinking methods and fantastic intuition are things that should be inculcated. A fantastic book, and one that started my journey as a chess player. My love for the game started because of Tal, and I am indebted to him."


Good Job! As promised, you will be awarded a book of your choice from ChessBase India Shop! Please write to on to claim the prize!

If you too want to get to know more about Mikhail Tal, then the Master Class DVD on him is where you should begin. Four masters dissect the play of the Magician from Riga:

Trivia for the week:

As we are talking about coaches, this week's question will be, "How have coaches influenced you?" 


Please write your answers in the comments section below. The winner will get to send his (recent) games to IM Sagar Shah, who will assess them and get back to you with his suggestions on how you can work better on chess! May the odds be ever in your favor!

We are hiring!

If you are below 13 and would like to be a part of the ChessBase India Juniors team, then write to us at You can be an editor, or an annotator or and interviewer or something that we haven't thought of! It's your chance to be a part of this exciting journalistic revolution in Indian chess!

About the author:

Avathanshu Bhat has been writing about chess for well over a year now. He has published innumerable articles on ChessBase India and his reports have been well received by the audience. He is the editor-in-chief of ChessBase India Juniors. His main intention is to bring the best junior players of our country into the limelight with his writings. Here is some of the work he has done in the past:

Life of a young chess player

Joy of losing

G. Akash wins the Grand Hyderabad affair

10-year-old boy's deep calculation (60,000+ hits on Youtube)

12-year-old chessentrepreneur Avathanshu Bhat

Chess species classified

Hemant Sharma becomes International Master

Colours of Black and White

Champion from Chudamani - IM Sidhant Mohapatra

Blindfold simul by Timur Gareyev

A letter from 2050

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