Exclusive || Chess Olympiad will enhance the stature of sports in country: Grand Master Vantika Agarwal

The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad has kicked off in Chennai and the chess brainiacs of the world have gathered to prove their supremacy in the game. The tournament is a blend of experienced as well as fresh batch of Masters and Grand Masters.

Ranked first in India in under-20, 3rd in Asia and 17th in the world, FIDE rankin Grand Master Vantika Agarwal will have India’s hopes and wishes for the Chess Olympiad. At a very young age she realised her passion for the sport, and thankfully, her mother, who is a chartered accountant by profession realised the potential of her talent.

Vantika’s mother motivated her to take professional training of the game and helped her with her studies as well. The journey was not easy, but as they say, good things don’t come easy. Vantika has made everyone proud and earned lot of respect, but she is still halfway of what she aspires. The Quotes, in a candid conversation, with Grand Master Vantika Agarwal, talked about the significance of the Chess Olympiad, her journey and the road ahead. Excerpts of the conversation.

Woman International Chess Master at 14 and Gold Medal winner at 17, is a really astonishing achievement at such a young age. Kindly let our readers know how your Chess journey started? What inspired you to take up this sport?

I started playing chess when I was 7 and a half years old while I was in 2nd grade at Amity International School, Noida. In school we were supposed to choose a sport for the Zero period. Amusingly, to save myself from the heat, I went to the chess room. But to my astonishment, the sport instantly attracted me a lot and I grew an interest in the sport.

At the same time my brother Vishesh, who was in grade 4 also got interested in this sport. He insisted our mother to make him join a chess academy. My mother thought that chess will boost my studies too so, she registered me also to Genius Chess Academy. From the very first tournament I started winning prizes and within 1 year I was Delhi State champion and Asian schools champion in under 9 girls’ category.

I was felicitated by then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi along with Viswanathan Anand Sir who had then become the 5th time world Champion in 2012. When I was standing along with Anand sir, I had promised myself that one day I will become like him. So, my greatest inspiration is Anand sir.

For everyone’s easy understanding, kindly shed some light on the importance of Chess Olympiad in the game and on its format.

Chess Olympiad is the biggest team event in the sport. Every chess player dreams of playing this competition to represent their country. The best from different countries compete here. Chess Olympiad is being hosted in India for the first time and 187 countries are participating. The tournament follows a Swiss System (all teams will play each and every round and the team with the highest points wins) where there will be 11 rounds. The time control is the classical time control with each player having 90 min with 30 seconds increment per move.

A team would consist of 5 players where in each round 4 players will play and 1 rests. To win a round your team needs to score more than 2.5 out of 4. It will be a tie if score is 2 out of 4. For a win, your team receives 2 pts and for a draw it gets 1 pt. No points for losing.

Kindly help our readers understand the rankings of players in chess and in what stages the game is played.

Ranking is according to ELO rating. There are criterias to get and increase your ELO rating. The strength of player is judged by higher ELO rating. For example, Magnus Carlsen is ranked No. 1 in Men’s category and has the highest ELO rating of 2864. There are age and gender specific category events which are generally for State, National, Asian, CW and World which happens once a year. But most popular is Open Category where every player takes part irrespective of age and gender. This happens all round the year. There are various time control events which are also organised. Generally, all are standard events where we get one and half hour plus 30 secs increment on every move. There are rapid and blitz event too. Rapid is around 15 mins and blitz is of 3 mins

You trained at Grand Master Viswanathan Anand’s Chess Academy. How’s been the preparation for Chess Olympiad going on?

There were two Olympiad training camps for every player organised by AICF but luckily, I got 3 camps. Anand sir’s academy has also provided a great training session and I had great learning experience at Anand sir’s academy. I am fully prepared and confident for the Olympiads. Please root for us.

You are pursuing B. Com Honours from Shri Ram College of Commerce, in New Delhi. How are your studies going on? How do you manage the balance between both?

I am pursuing BCom honours from Shri Ram College of Commerce, in New Delhi, and always wanted to enjoy school and college life along with chess. I also have lot of friends in my college but as I am constantly participating in various tournament, I hardly get time to spend with them. I miss all of them a lot.
It has been a very difficult task balancing both but I enjoyed the challenge. I attend College whenever I am at home. With my mother’s help I am able to score well in my studies. She is a Chartered Accountant and she ensured that my studies never got suffered. She prepared me for almost all the subjects I have studied till date.

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Sports