'Training camps by legends also contributed to India's young chess masters Gukesh, Pragg scaling global heights'

Chennai, April 22 (IANS): With Indian teenage chess Grandmaster D. Gukesh winning the 2024 FIDE Candidates tournament on Monday, former Tamil Nadu chess champion S. Kailasanathan, who had roped in several chess legends to train him and several other prodigies, is a happy and contented man.

Kailasanathan had, through his former company Microsense, organised a coaching camp for upcoming talents under former World Chess Champion Grandmaster (GM) Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik in France in 2019.

The boys were: GMs Gukesh, R.Praggnanandhaa, P. Iniyan and then, International Masters (IM) and now GMs, Raunak Sadhwani and Leon Mendonca.

Soon, a second camp was held in Chennai for about 14 young chess talents, this time under Kramnik and GM Boris Gelfand.

Over the years, all these players progressed well and apart from Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa also played in the just-concluded Candidates tournament.

"We are very happy that Gukesh has won the Candidates and will be playing for the World Championship next. So far as I am concerned, Gukesh is the favourite against the world champion GM Ding Liren of China," Kailasanathan told IANS.

He said the Microsense Group started supporting Gukesh before he became a GM - both financially for his travels and hotel stays and his training and coaching. This was until about one year ago.

He said apart from Gukesh, some 30 other young chess players were supported by Microsense Group.

"The idea was to make sure that a large number of Indian players enter the top echelons and not just one or two. This is what happened and the plan has been proved right. The entire world has woken up and noticed," Kailasanathan said.

Today it is not only Gukesh and Praggnanandhaa who are at the top but also others like GMs Arjun Erigassi, Sadhwani, Mendonca and several others.

Kailasanathan and Rajiv Talwar, former Director at Microsense, continue, in their personal capacity, to support chess players like Aditya Mittal, Pranav Venkatesh, Bharath Subramanyam, Mendonca and others.

Seeing the success of the training camps for boys, Kailasanathan and Talwar, along with the Pravaha Foundation, conducted a training camp for upcoming female chess players under GM Judith Polgar recently in Budapest.

The Pravaha Foundation is sponsoring six young chess players – Vantika Agrawal, Savithashri, Shubhi Gupta, Saparya Ghosh, Charvi (all girls) and Ilamparthi (boy), Vinoda Kailas, Director and Trustee had told IANS.