HYDERABAD: Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi, who has seen his stock rise in the past few months, is upbeat about India’s chances in the upcoming chess Olympiad, scheduled to start on July 28. If one glances through the latest FIDE top-10 junior ranking, three from India feature in them. Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi is in the second position and CE speaks to the 18-year-old from Telangana about his love for the sport and how he balances everything together and more.
“I started dabbling in various sports when I was 8 years old. I used to love swimming and chess as a hobby when I was a kid. It was a few years later that I chose to concentrate on chess alone. Till 2021, I somehow managed to balance studies and chess together. But, it got incredibly hectic for me, so I had to choose between further studies in college or professional chess.
I wanted to drop out of studies after class 12 only, but my parents wanted me to give both together a shot. Sadly, it didn’t work out and I dropped out from studies while in the first year of graduation in Data Science,” shares Arjun about how his love for chess began. He loved his time in Hyderabad when he was a residential student at Ramaraju Academy Of Chess Education in Kothapet. “It was a good time in Hyderabad when I was in the residential school in 2015-16 to learn chess,” he says.
The young Grandmaster doesn’t love chess, he loves to watch movies and video games. “I like to watch comedy movies, especially in Telugu and play video games to relax. My all-time favourite actors are Jr NTR and Allu Arjun. In video games, I like to play G-Switch and Among Us,” shares Arjun. According to him, even if he is a grandmaster, he wants to improve further and the joy he gets from winning a match is incomparable. “It is very important to enjoy playing chess and not take extra pressure. My idols in the field are Viswanathan Anand, Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen.
I honed my chess skills by playing online tournaments rather than reading books, but the process of learning can be different for different people. At the end of the day it is important to enjoy and do what you want to do,” concludes Arjun, who is gearing up for the Chess Olympiad, 28th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival, Dubai Open Chess Tournament and European Chess Club Cup.