Former professor and an internationally rated chess player, Raghavan is taking chess to underprivileged k – Times of India

Chess Training

The turning point in the life of former college professor Raghavan came along with an unfortunate incident in early 2019. He had just lost his job as part of a sudden layoff, and was made to reflect on his career. This is when he decided to turn things around by steering focus onto his passion, while also helping people in need.The internationally rated chess player has been teaching the game to differently abled children and kids from underprivileged backgrounds for the past two years, well through the pandemic, free of charge. These children deserve the same opportunities that we do, and I wanted to do my part in making them realise their dream, Raghavan says.Apart from training children in and around his neighbourhood, the chess player has also been teaching the game to differently abled kids through Zoom and WhatsApp sessions during the pandemic. The game is a big life-skill for children looking to keep their minds healthy, he notes, adding that differently abled children are often naturals at the game, which is nothing but a battle of brains.Differently abled children have exceptional visual abilities. Their left and right brain functioning is impeccable. And it helps that chess is about the mind and not just stamina, he explains. Raghavan, who has been teaching up to 20 children regularly, makes use of colourful boards to tap into the visual senses of his students.Children are great at geometric patterns. So, by tapping to their visual senses, I teach them the basics and coordination. I teach them the board every day and I try to make the board colourful, too, to engage their visual senses, says Raghavan, who goes on to recall his first tryst with the game.His eidetic memory drew him to the format of chess according to the self-taught chess player . Ever since my childhood, I have had a good memory power. And I wanted to make something of it. And when I was studying in college, I saw many play chess with each other. I would sit and observe their moves and would remember every notation. This is when I realised that chess was the right fit for me, he recalls, adding that he has played more than 150 national and international tournaments in the country.Financial downturns further prompted him to give up his dream to be a performer and achieve a new dream to become a teacher instead, he adds. I do not have any academic education in chess and learnt only through books and videos. I want to pass on this knowledge to children who can make something out of this at tournaments, he says, adding, My dream is to begin a bigger organisation to help children from these backgrounds in different games like chess and cubics. Opportunities are everything and these children deserve them all.Chess in the pandemicWhile the popularity of the game, among other board games have soared during the pandemic, thanks to shows like The Queens Gambit, the reach could be much bigger, Raghavan notes. While people might have gotten more acclimated to the game during this time, I still think it could become more popular if it is learnt with discipline, he adds.


Former professor and an internationally rated chess player, Raghavan is taking chess to underprivileged k - Times of India

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