MP: Checkmate! He can't walk, but moves like grandmaster

  • Sunil Magariya and Milind R Lashkari, Hindustan Times, Ujjain
  • Updated: Jan 18, 2015 17:37 IST

Grandmaster Garry Kasparov had once said: "For me, chess is a language, and if it's not my native tongue, it is one I learned via the immersion method at a young age." The success story of 22-year-old Akshay Jain isn't much different from what the former world champion had said.

This differently-abled player from Freeganj area of Ujjain has created quite a stir in the state chess fraternity when he outclassed several 'normal players' of his age at the recently-concluded state-level chess championship organised by Ujjaini district Shatranj Sangh in the temple. The tournament that ended on Thursday, Akshay emerged as one of the top players, catching a few eye-balls.

Akshay, whose world revolves around the kings and pawns; black and white squares for more than a decade now, can hardly able to move without a support, but he has participated in several district-level tourneys so far.

In the recent championship, as many as 140 chess players from Ujjain and its neigbouring areas had participated. But, Akshay surprised everyone with his impressive moves on the chess board. Akshay, son of a local businessman Dharmendra Jain, started playing chess at the age of 10, when he first saw the game on computer.

"He is a God-gifted talent. Akshay could hardly express his feelings or talk like a normal child, but he never felt different from others. From childhood, he had the urge to know different things. He made friendship with kings and pawns, and that changed his life," Dharmendra said.

But Akshay's parents were hardly aware of the game 12 years back. The Jain couple said Akshay got his first lesson of chess from computer. "Soon after, we also started taking interest in the game as it was the closest thing to his heart," Dharmendra added.

So when did he decide to participate in the championship? "Couple of years back, when he told us that he wanted to participate in the tournament we were not ready for it. We were a bit hesitant. But after some time, we gave our nod to his first love. Now that he has won the tournament, we are confident about the future ventures," said Saroj, Akshay's mother.

Ujjaini district Shatranj Sangh president Sandeep Kulshretha said: "We were surprised seeing his game, and now it's our responsibility to nurture this talent, and help him take his game to the next level." Kulshretha also said the association would provide financial support and a coaching to Akshay.

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