CHENNAI: I van Popov, Vladimir Belous and Aravindh Chithambaram — That's quite an illustrious list. And soon, S Nitin will be hoping to join that group at the 9th Chennai Open International Grandmaster Chess Tournament 2017 for the Sakthi Group Dr N Mahalingam Trophy. All this considering the engineer made a poor start.
“Things really picked up over the last four-five rounds. The first few games didn't go well for me, but I'm happy to have turned it around and given myself a shot at the title. I just had to take a walk and give some time to myself to think. I started afresh from that point, and took it round by round. Hope I win the title,” Nitin said on Tuesday.
Chess players are a quaint type. A sport that requires a lot of mind work and preparations is not associated with aggression. But the 24-year-old's case tells us exactly why that should not be the case. “I idolise Viswanathan Anand and Virat Kohli. While it's obvious why I follow Anand, the reason for my affinity towards Virat is his aggression. I like the way he is always looking to dominate, and how he carries himself,” Nitin noted.
The employee with Southern Railways says that ever since his father first taught the game, he wanted to pursue it as a career. “My father, himself a chess player, taught me the game when I was 4. Ever since, I've known I wanted to make it my profession. And after my Class 12 boards, I finalised that plan. It was in fact through the sports quota that I got into the SSN College for my engineering graduation.”
On the issue of the protests about Jallikattu, and whether that had caused some doubts on the minds of participants, Nitin said there were no such problems. “Firstly, I am pro-Jallikattu. And no, there were no issues regarding our safety over the past few days. The organisers have done a fine job, and credit to them for ensuring the event has gone on smoothly,” opined the Salem lad.
For any aspiring chess player, obtaining the Grandmaster norm is the prime aim, and the same is the case with Nitin. “After this, I participate in the inter-railways meet, and then go to Austria for a couple of events. My objective throughout that will be to achieve the GM norm,” he concluded.