The life of a chess player’s parent is challenging, to say the least. Waiting hours together for their child during games, managing all the finances, supporting the child during his highs and lows – the list of their hardships is endless. Yet, they are guided by one unified motive of making their child a world class chess player. Indeed, Viswanathan Anand’s massive success over the years would have been much tougher hadn’t it been for his parents’ tremendous efforts.

Bearing in mind the amount of efforts put in by any chess player’s parents, we caught up with a few parents to find out more about what goes behind the curtains. Experiences – the good and the bad

The life of a ‘chess parent’ is a library of experiences. In this regard, Mrs. Kusum Mittal’s (mother of CM Aditya Mittal) experience is a fascinating one. She says, ”In one of the rounds at a junior tournament in South Africa, Aditya was paired against a kid from the USA. To our utter surprise, the American player came along with a personalized card for Aditya which read ‘Dear Aditya, play well and give your best’. This gesture has left a deep impression on me. I have preserved the card to this day.”

Mrs. Kusum Mittal’s (mother of CM Aditya Mittal)
Mrs. Kusum Mittal’s (mother of CM Aditya Mittal)
 Mrs. Krisha Khaturia (mother of Kiyarra Khaturia)
Mrs. Krisha Khaturia (mother of Kiyarra Khaturia)

For Mrs.Krisha Khaturia (mother of Kiyarra Khaturia), the social aspect of the tournament has been a highlight. “As a chess parent, you make lots of friends and acquaintances. It is fun to meet new and wonderful people”.

However, life is not a bed of roses. Parents, inevitably, have to go through a host of hardships during various events. Mrs. Prema Vincent (mother of Alaina Vincent) shared one such rough experience.”We had been to a certain tournament where one of the washrooms was simply closed down. It was extremely troublesome for the players as well as for the parents”.

Mrs. Prema Vincent (mother of Alaina Vincent)
Mrs. Prema Vincent (mother of Alaina Vincent)
The Life of a ‘Chess Parent’

All the parents admitted that being a parent to a chess player is an extremely tough job. The ups and downs are countless. Mrs. Krisha Khaturia put it beautifully,” The life of a chess parent involves numerous sacrifices. You have to let go of several exciting things in life. At the same time, you realize that your child is also sacrificing a lot – he has to let go of a normal childhood.” She further adds,”Chess has taught me to be patient. It’s not only about waiting for several hours during my daughter’s games but also about being patient with her progress and results.”

Mrs. Vincent admits that the life of a ‘chess parent’ is frustrating at times. She further says,” It’s challenging to retain your composure when your child is not playing well. Overtime, you realize that scolding your child is not the best of options.”

Chess in India

India, in today’s world, is a leading chess nation. Several nations look up admirably to our chess culture. With this in mind, it’s interesting to note the views of Mr. Md Nazrul Islam (father of FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman) of Bangladesh regarding the state of chess in India. “For us, playing in India is a good learning curve. Yes, it’s tough playing in India – the players here are very talented. As such, my child learns a host of things regardless of his performances.” He also remarks passionately about Anand, “Back in Bangladesh, most people support Anand. He is truly a role model to us.”Most parents opined that the strength of chess players in India is pretty high, with Mrs. Vincent specifically mentioning Chennai as a fantastic learning ground.However, the unanimous opinion among Indian parents was that the infrastructure provided for chess in India needs improvement. Things like good playing conditions, clean washroom facilities and a comfortable place for parents to sit came to the fore.

Mr. Md Nazrul Islam (father of FM Rahman)
Mr. Md Nazrul Islam (father of FM Rahman)
Mr. Namashivayam (father of Dhanush Ragav)
Mr. Namashivayam (father of Dhanush Ragav)

When asked about ways for betterment of chess in India, Mr. Namashivayam (father of Dhanush Ragav) said, “Many players, like my child, hail from an economically weak background. It would be preferable if something can be done to support such players. Even cheap accommodation facility during tournaments can go on to help us a long way.”Message for ‘Chess Parents’

We received a lot of good messages by ‘chess parents’ for other ‘chess parents’. The one that particularly stood out was Mr. Namashivayam’s message, “Do not pressurize your child. If your child is passionate enough, he or she will definitely succeed!”