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Bipin Shenoy - The untold story of the accomplished gentleman

by Shahid Ahmed - 16/08/2020

For a sport to function properly, it takes a lot of professionals to play their role. While most of them remain unsung heroes or very few people get to know about their contribution to the game, Shahid Ahmed took it upon him to start a podcast where his intention is to bring stories of various chess professionals whose stories are not widely known. In the first episode of Straight Talk with Shahid - we bring the journey of Bipin Shenoy, a National Team champion, nine times National 'B' player, a multifarious chess personality who has played the role of a player, coach, mentor, journalist, coordinator and much more. He interviewed Smyslov, Korchnoi, Anand, worked with Kasparov Chess Club and was instrumental in strengthening the foundation of some of the strongest title players of Kolkata, West Bengal. Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Straight Talk with Shahid #1 - Bipin Shenoy

In a new series titled, 'Straight Talk with Shahid', a talk show/podcast which is aimed to bring the untold story of various chess personalities from the chess universe who is an accomplished chess personality, someone who has a lot of stories to tell but the world is unaware of them. In the first episode we have Bipin Shenoy who shares his multifaceted journey in chess with us. He has won the National Team Championship in 1984 along with Dibyendu Barua, Neeraj Kumar Mishra, Ananda Kumar Ghosh and Rajendra Singh. He qualified for nine consecutive National 'B' from 1983-91.

Bipin Shenoy - Player, Coach, Mentor, Organizer and most importantly a true gentleman | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

"I was born in Pune but I am here in Kolkata since six months after my birth. I started chess by watching my father playing chess with his Tamil friend who was posted in Russia. When he came, he used to play with my father. I learnt the game by watching them play. That was in 1971 when Fischer was at his peak. I was hooked to chess by the time Fischer played with Spassky in 1972." - On his first footsteps in the chess world.

Bipin's first chess book was on the match between Fischer and Spassky | Photo: Icelandic Chess Federation

He got his first chess book from the book stalls near Grand Hotel Kolkata famously known as Grand arcade. He got it for ₹30 or less at that time.

Years later he returned to Grand to interview and have many interesting chess sessions at the same place | Photo: Wikipedia

"We had State B and State 'A'. Our State 'A' used to go on for 22-25 days. It was 20-player Round Robin event... We had two rest days" - on chess scene when he used to play in State 'A' and 'B'.

Alekhine Chess Club was the first chess club which started promoting chess in a big way | Photo: Alekhine Chess Club fb

He was among the first students of Alekhine Chess Club which has countless World Champions and World Class players participating in the iconic and one of the first international GM tournaments in the country back in the day - Goodricke International GM tournament which has witnessed players like Vishy Anand, Nigel Short, Daniel King, Viktor Korchnoi, Jonathan Speelman, Vladimir Akopian and many more legends of the game. He played and worked in the iconic tournament as a chess journalist where he had his first work as a chess reporter recommended by the Secretary and the backbone of Alekhine Chess Club - Soumen Majumdar.

Soumen Majumdar was a young member at Alekhine Chess Club along with Bipin who later on went to become the Secretary of the club | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

He represented the first Indian team at Bangladesh from Alekhine Chess Club and since then the relationship between two chess playing only moved from strength to strength. Although he could not perform up to his expectations in his debut but it was a historic feat back then nevertheless.

Bipin defeated India's first IM Manual Aaron in the penultimate round of National 'B' 1985 and it was published in Chessmate

"I scored 6.5/11 and got 2330 rapid rating because the average rating was quite high." - On getting his first rapid rating in a round-robin tournament where many players were above 2350 rated.

Bipin being felicitated by then Vice-President of India in 1983 | Photo: Bidita Shenoy

He was felicitated by former Vice President of India Late Mohammad Hidaytullah at Maharashtra Niwas, Kolkata after winning the Piloo Mody Chess Championship at Lucknow in 1983.

Mr. Shenoy has interviewed Smyslov, Korchnoi, Anand, Harikrishna, Edward Gufeld and many more legends of the game.

Bipin Shenoy with Vishy Anand and his father at Alekhine Chess Club, Kolkata in 1992 | Photo: Bidita Shenoy

He reported for the English daily newspapers - The Telegraph, The Statesman, Times of India and one of the oldest daily newspaper Amritabazar Patrika.

Neelotpal Das, Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Sandipan Chanda at Alekhine Chess Club presents New Year Open in 2018 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

He also taught Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Sandipan Chanda and Neelotpal Das in their formative years.

Bipin is instrumental in Mary Ann Gomes' early success in chess | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

He was also instrumental in Mary Ann Gomes becoming a strong and accomplished player. Her father Charles Gomes is a great friend of Bipin.

Bipin Shenoy and his wife Dipika Shenoy with the Future Hope students | Photo: Sayan Mukerji

Bipin was the first person to have started chess in various schools across Kolkata and he has taught in more than ten schools. He still teaches at Future Hope School where he teaches the underprivileged children. He also interacted with English cricketers like Kevin Pietersen and others when they visited the school and hosted friendly chess event with the school's students.

Bipin watches English cricketer Monty Panesar playing against one of his student | Photo: Sayan Mukerji

He also has a full time job with New India Assurance where his entire office supported him in his pursuit of chess despite not having a sports quota job and presently he is one of the senior coaches at DDDBCA.

Bipin Shenoy with the first official Fischer Random World Champion Wesley So along with Dibyendu Barua and Dipika Shenoy | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Don't miss absolutely packed 80+ minutes of debut episode about the man who knows four languages English, Marathi, Hindi and Bangla, where you get to hear a lot about this man's journey in chess.

Bipin Shenoy with his family - daughter Bidita Shenoy and wife Dipika Shenoy | Photo: Bidita Shenoy

Watch the entire episode here

Bipin Shenoy - The untold story of the accomplished gentleman | Video: Shahid Ahmed

You can also listen to the podcast on: Breaker, Google PodcastOvercast, Pocket Casts, Radio Public and Spotify.

Bipin Shenoy's best games

If you know about an accomplished chess professional whose journey in chess is not widely known, please let us know his name and details in the comments, we will try our best to bring his/her story to the world. You can also write to us here: