BENGALURU: City-based chess player Girish A Koushik has become a Grandmaster (GM) – the highest title a chess player can achieve. Last week, the 22-year-old, who hails from Mysuru, reached the milestone at the 37th Balaton International Chess Festival in Hungary.
Koushik has become the third Grandmaster from the state and 63rd Grandmaster of the country. He began his chess journey when he was just four years old, after his father, Arun Kumar H V, introduced him to the board game.
Koushik scored his first GM norm in 2011, and it was widely thought then that he would become a Grandmaster in the next two years. But he lacked financial support to compete in various championships. He stopped playing major tournaments and started focussing on academics. He also shifted base from Mysuru to Bengaluru, and got admission in electronics and communications engineering at RV College of Engineering
His dream of excelling at chess, however, continued to reign in his mind. So this year, as soon as he finished his final semester exam, he packed his bag and went on a tour to Europe to participate in major international championships.
“As soon as I finished my last exam in May, I left for big events in Europe. During May and June, I played three tournaments back-to-back, where I was able to score my second GM norm and final GM norm. I then played at Balaton International Chess festival crossing the Live ELO Rating of 2500 which made me a Grandmaster,” said Koushik, who started playing local tournaments as a five-year-old, with his father standing with him as a mentor and guru.
His winning spree in various competitions soon propped him as a promising player. He won gold medals in Asian Championships in Under-8, U-10, U-12, U-14 and U-16 categories, and toured across countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, UAE, Iran, China, and Philippines from a very young age to take part in championships. He began to be recognised as a young chess wizard, and was conferred with the Ekalavya Award in 2008.
Koushik now feels on top of the world for two reasons – the Grandmaster title and his engineering degree that has got him a job offer. “Chess is a psychological game that needs hard training. Also, one needs to have great maturity. My advice to passionate chess players is that you need to balance your passion with academics, and only then will a good result come your way,” said Koushik.