Teen Battles Odds to Maiden International Master Norm

Gaurav’s father Devnandan had to mortgage his home to send his son to Slovenia for the World Youth Chess Championship in 2012.

Published: 25th January 2016 03:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2016 03:15 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’. Kumar Gaurav’s father Devnandan Yadav, an advocate, had to mortgage his home to send his son to Slovenia for the World Youth Chess Championship in 2012.

Three years later, the 15-year-old justified his father’s faith in his abilities by claiming a first International Master norm from the Chennai Open on Sunday. By holding IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh in the ninth round, the teenager took his tally to six points.

“It’s a great feeling. But the tough part is about to start. I plan to work even harder now on,” an elated Kumar told Express.

Hailing from the small town of Araria in north-eastern Bihar, this class IX student has battled hardships in life. His younger brother Saurav Anand and sister Garima Gaurav also play chess. Uncle Ravi Kumar, who accompanies the trio to events in India, said, “For most events, Devnandan and I try and ask for financial assistance. We’re still buried in debt. Every month we try to repay little by little.

“The Bihar CM and other ministers have met all of us and even visited our home. They promised much, but very little has come our way. It’s becoming a burden,” he revealed.

For Kumar, who had stunned GM Valeriy Neverov from Ukraine in the fifth round, and his siblings the future does not look rosy. The General Administration Department in the state has imposed an order on chess players expecting jobs under sports quota. The candidate must be a GM or IM. Bihar is yet to produce either.

“Because of financial constraints, I train online with my coach Vishal Sareen from Delhi. I hope to become the first GM from Bihar,” he signed off.


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