Do we have it in us to Motivate this Future Chess Champion from our Slum?
It is an unlikely setting in which to find a chess champion. An asbestos-sheeted single-room house in a slum at Erukkancheri with the family struggling to make ends meet. However, the tough conditions have made M. Mahalakshmi, who is the world under-12 girls’ chess bronze medalist, more determined to win the forthcoming world under-14 girls’ chess championship.
“I want to become the world champion. It is my goal in life. My immediate goal is to win gold at the world youth championship that begins in Solvenia on November 7,” the teenage girl from Chennai told Deccan Chronicle.
The Class 9 student of Velammal Matriculation School has so far won two bronze medals (under-8 and under-12) at world level tournaments. At the Asian level, she has bagged gold in the under-10 category in 2008, silver in the under-14 meet in 2010 and a bronze in the same under-14 event in 2011.
The fourth daughter of an electrician, Mahalakshmi picked up chess from her third sister M. Jagadambal.
Put under the tutelage of prominent coach M.J. Ismail, she quickly rose to prominence at the national level when she bagged the under-7 title in 2005. However, her family troubles have ensured that she has to fight greater odds to keep ruling the chess board. Mahalakshmi now trains under R.B. Ramesh and misses out on the individual attention.
“Earlier we used to arrange for individual training for her. At that time, I was running a PVC pipe company and was living in a decent flat. Now we are struggling to make ends meet and so have stopped professional coaching for her,” said her dejected father P. Mukunthakumar, adding that she missed participating in a open tournament at Orissa recently because of lack of funds.
The little champ is, however, not worried about coaching or losing valuable tournament practice. “I train for at least eight hours a day at home. My school is very considerate and sponsors me when I travel abroad,” said Mahalakshmi.
To motivate this young chess champion call 98400-33294.