THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: S L Narayanan has loads of talent. But the 18-year-old does not have a purse deep enough to meet the expenses that a career in top-flight chess demands. Narayanan, who won bronze at the 55th World Junior Chess Championship in Bhubaneswar on August 21, has to shell out Rs 25-30 lakh every year. But he has no sponsor and is relying on loans taken by his father for his trips.
“Narayanan aims to be one of the best in India and represent the country in international stages including the World Championships in three years’ time. But to progress beyond a point in chess is a costly affair,” said Sunilduth Padmanabhan, Narayanan’s father. Narayanan can only afford 30 days of advanced training from a reputable foreign coach a year. Even that costs his family Rs 7 lakh. Travel and accommodation during major tournaments, mainly in Europe, adds to his expense. However, those trips are essential for him to gain international exposure and improve his FIDE ratings. His next major event is at the Isle of Man. “It will cost around Rs 3.5 lakh. We are unsure if we can afford it,” said Sunilduth.
“We have approached several companies for sponsorship but have been turned down every time. I have spent around Rs 60 lakh on his career so far and this year I have Rs 5 lakh outstanding on loans,” said Sunilduth, who quit his job years ago to build Narayanan’s career. “As he has progressed as a player, the need for quality coaching has also increased. So have the expenses,” Sunilduth said.