Chess has no connection with sand mining. But, for 51-year-old A Mohanan, a FIDE-rated player hailing from Kolathara Chunkom in Kozhikode, who is popularly known as ‘giant killer’ in chess circles, both go along in his life. In the recently held competition titled ‘The Express Kerala Student Master,’ in which International Master K Ratnakaran took on 53 chess players simultaneously, Mohanan was the only player who registered a win.
Besides Ratnakaran, Tamil Nadu Grand Master M R Venkatesh, former All-India Open Chess champion N Abdul Majeed and former national player O T Anilkumar are a few other players who suffered blows when they took on Mohanan in various competitions. Though it could not be said that it is quite easy for a sand mining worker to make both ends meet in our present conditions, for Mohanan, the 64-box game is an inspiration in fighting against all odds.
He has been in the chess scene for two decades and clinched district championship titles and three district championships held in Malappuram in 2009. With these titles, many extended support to the chess player. Surprisingly, till the age of 30, Mohanan had not even seen a chess board. “Later, during evenings I used to watch the game played by local youths at a club at Kolathara and this created an interest in me. But my acquaintance with P T Ummerkoya, former FIDE vice president, groomed the player in me as he gave me books on chess and allowed me to get trained at the Indoor Stadium in the city,” says Mohanan.
Mohanan always prefer black for attacking. With a surprise pawn move he gained a precious win against Ratnakaran at the Kozhikode Indoor Stadium. In 2012, at the Lions Club Hall in Kozhikode, when Grand Master M R Venkitesh took on 60 players simultaneously, only two players registered a win against him and one was Mohanan. Right now, he is concentrating on training to participate in a tournament to be held in New Delhi next month. Surely, the giant killing skills of this chess master are all set to create waves in the national capital too.