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Off the Board Tales #9 - Prachi Mokal

by Avathanshu Bhat - 17/06/2021

'Off the Board Tales' is a series by ChessBase India, where the premise revolves around people who are passionate about chess despite it not being their career. An emotional and short story is what you're up for, so read on for tales of joy, tales of aspirations, tales of sorrows, and tales of success. Prachi Mokal is a chess mom to IM Prathamesh Mokal and WIM Elect Amruta Mokal. She has faced many hardships and gave it her all for her kids.

The chess mother who gave it all for her kids.

Since the very beginning of their kids' interest in sports, Sunil and Prachi Mokal had to make the sacrifice of time, money, and comfort to do what it took to support their kids.

My husband Sunil and I knew that sports were where we wanted our kids to excel. I hardly knew chess and Sunil was a professional boxer for a long time until he fractured his wrist. We tried a lot of different sports, such as Swimming, Karate, Boxing, and Chess, but we had to choose between the latter two. Sunil would have loved for his kids to follow in his footsteps, but I insisted that a less physically taxing game would be better, and so chess was what we all loved.

It was a long-time dream of Sunil to get his kids into boxing just like him, but he supported them all the way when they gravitated to chess.

Education had also been a concern to us, but not in the way you’d expect; we were looking for a school that wouldn’t mind any leaves as long as homework was finished! We eventually enrolled in Loyola school, and we never had any issues with attendance after! My kids would only finish homework and study for important tests to come, which would often be rushed.

The two were very prominent in the newspapers of their hometown Pune.

The tournament grind started out very hectic, and I would accompany the two to the venue. However, only players were given complimentary services, and so I’d often play the tournament just for those benefits. It was rough, as we weren’t that well equipped financially, but somehow we made it work, through a lot of compromises in comfort. We’d sleep on mattresses, and use common washrooms. But I’m still proud to this day how neither of them ever complained, and rather focused on their chess as best as they could.

Prathamesh has a black belt in Taekwondo and is an International Master. It was not uncommon for him to make it to the news back in the day.

 

Amruta also trained in martial arts and was the nine-time state champion, among many other impressive feats.

Soon they became independent, and I traveled much less. And yet, I’ve never been more proud of them for being good human beings, which was my first concern even more than anything else. It brings me great pleasure every time when I reflect upon their progress over the years, and I love to look back at some of the newspaper clippings in which they frequently appeared. I feel I did everything that I could, and I regret nothing about how I’ve brought up my kids. There were times when it hurt; when it seemed like their progress stagnated. Yet, that's how sports are, and where they both are now made up for all the losses in the world.

The family has definitely been through and seen a lot over the years, and a lot had to be sacrificed back in the early days. However, the morals that the kids were taught, and the work ethic which they developed to get where they are made all the sacrifices worth it in the Mokal's eyes.

 

About the Author:

Avathanshu Bhat is a 16-year-old from Mumbai. He is the Editor-in-Chief for ChessBase India Juniors and Manager for ChessBase India's Elite Pass. He recently began a new series called 'Off the Board Tales' on ChessBase India's social media pages. He is a voracious reader, a Nolan film enthusiast, and is passionate about everything tech and games.


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