SMCA’s I2V initiative, a big boost to Indian chess

Bharat Singh Chauhan (left) and Nagesh Guttula (right) interact with a trainee at SMCA; image credit: SMCA

Mumbai: Chess has long been unaffordable for the middle-class or the upper middle-class. But in Mumbai it ceases to be, following an initiative called I2V by South Mumbai Chess Academy (SMCA) which will provide partial scholarship to talented under-privileged kids.

By the way, it’s not restricted to a plan or a project, the first beneficiary of the scheme has been shortlisted and that is going to be the baby step for the initiative, which is expected to provide similar assistance to others too who are in desperate need of support. Kohlapur boy Aditya Savalkar, whose current international ELO rating is 1600 points, will be taken care of by the SMCA under the said banner.

“Having spent many years in the field, I know there are many who are talented, but cannot afford to have world-class training. So to make that international training facility available here in Mumbai, we have roped in reputed Ukrainian coach Alexander Golaschapov at a nominal cost. We will tap those who have talent but no money,” SMCA’s Cheif Executive Officer, Nagesh Guttula told SportsCrunch.

The governing body of chess in India, All India Chess Federation (AICF), has also extended its support to SMCA for this herculean effort. “I am really happy to see the facilities SMCA provides. Through this new initiative, chess will go deeper into the society and the country will get more and more Grandmasters and International Masters in the near future,” AICF CEO Bharat Singh Chauhan told SportsCrunch sitting at the academy recently.

On why Aditya was picked first for assistance, Guttula explained. “Aditya is very talented, but hails from a humble background. It won’t be possible for the family to provide the child with international training. So we thought to start with him as the child has a lot of promise,” the SMCA CEO said.

For the record, the game requires enormous money power if one wants to have the top level training. Approximately, the cost comes to around INR 1,50,000 per month if one chooses to pursue the game. Besides that, taking part in competitions abroad has to be funded by the family.



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