CHENNAI: Years of hard work, systematic training and self belief helped Tamil Nadu’s M Mahalakshmi win the U-18 girls title in the World Youth Chess Championship with a round to spare in Porto Carras, Greece. Starting as the least fancied, the 32nd seed clinched the crown with nine points in 10 rounds, 1.5 points more than her compatriot Varshini.
“I’m delighted to bag the U-18 crown. I thank my family for their support and in particular my coach RB Ramesh who help me achieve my goal at the World Youth Chess. I would also like to thank Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School,” Mahalakshmi told from Greece.
Mahalakshmi, who has a rating of 2019, had won the Asian U-10 girls title in 2008. She had also won U-14 World title in 2012. A few months back she was thinking of quitting due to her financial position, but her coach RB Ramesh bailed her out. “Some time back she (Mahalakshmi) wanted to quit as her financial situation was bad. I asked her parents to come and meet me and told them that their daughter was talented and I will try to get sponsorship. I managed to get sponsorship with appeals through Facebook,” recollected GM RB Ramesh.
“I can take care of the coaching part but she needs to play in international tournaments and get exposure. Once I got her the financial help, she concentrated on her game without worry. In chess one needs to keep the mind free in order to work on the game. She has flair and needs more sponsorship to grow as a player.”.
Mahalakshmi credits her academy for success. “The preparation and regular training at Chessgurukul with Ramesh was the key. After I went through a bad patch last year, I was determined to overcome it with hard work and confidence. I worked hard for this title and hope this is a big break in my chess career. My next aim is to get WGM title soon,” said a confident Mahalakshmi.