Aditya Mittal – A personal portrait

January 2014, Sangli. Round 2 of the National Amateur Chess Championship was about to begin. I was up against a 1500 player - a rating difference of 300 to my advantage.

They say ignorance is bliss. But people forget that this well-known proverb should be taken with a pinch of salt.

I walked up to my board and settled down. Soon, my eyes fell on a cute little kid, about eight years old, with his mother by his side, walking up towards me. As I came to know later on, the kid had met with an accident and required to be escorted all the time. He came and sat innocuously across the board. The round took off in a short while.

I met his first move with an offbeat opening, trying to steer the game toward positions that my opponent may not be well-versed with. He surely looked a bit surprised in the initial stages, and it seemed that my ploy had worked. However, little did I know what I was walking into. All of a sudden, he started playing confidently, finding a string of strong moves. Matters changed, and now, I was under the pump. Things only became worse as I was unable to find the necessary resources while my opponent kept tightening the ropes.

It was only a tricky pawn sacrifice on my part, almost a gamble, that helped me turn the tide and bring home the full point. I felt relieved.

In over 13 years of my active chess-playing experience at the amateur level, I have come across a whole lot of impressive young players. However, if someone asks me to single out one player that has struck me to the core, it’s got to be my opponent from the above anecdote—Aditya Mittal.

Aditya Mittal

It’s been two years since this incident, and times have changed a lot. Today, Aditya boasts of a favourable rating difference of 200 over me, with an Elo close to 2100, which goes on to show the kind of strides this 10-year-old from Mumbai has made in the last couple of years.

 

Aditya has won several medals for India.

Over the years, Aditya has competed and won medals in tournaments at the National, Asian and World levels. He is currently rated an impressive 2068 and is often seen contributing his analysis for ChessBase India. Throughout the recently concluded London Chess Classic, Aditya provided personal analysis to these elite games, whether it meant doing so while travelling in a train or after a tough day at school.

Aditya being felicitated by the Indian President.

2016 brought Aditya his biggest moment so far—he was honoured by the President of India – Shri Pranab Mukherjee – with the ‘National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement’, an award that Aditya more than deserves.

Aditya is a big source of inspiration, be it for the up and coming chess players or people in general. Not only is he an exceptional player, but what also stands out is the manner in which he overcame a number of odds over the years on his path to become the player that he is today. A jolly kid at heart, he surely knows how to shift the gears when at the board!

Aditya is currently in action at the Open event of the 2nd IIFL Wealth International Chess Tournament. Whether or not will he repeat his success from the first edition, only time will tell. But there’s no doubting that this is one guy for the future.


Text by Shubham Kumthekar