Uttar Pradesh: Temple which helps chess players make the right move | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Uttar Pradesh: Temple which helps chess players make the right move

Amid long queues of devotees, stand a number of chess champions because of the special bond the temple shares with the sport.

lucknow Updated: Sep 01, 2017 14:36 IST
Smriti Malaviya
Pandit Shyamji Pathak, ND Singh and Anandji (pappanji) Tandon preparing for the chess championship.
Pandit Shyamji Pathak, ND Singh and Anandji (pappanji) Tandon preparing for the chess championship.(HT Photo)

Kalyani Devi temple, nearly 1500 year old Hindu shrine located in the heart of Allahabad, is famous for drawing devotees in thousands.

Very few would know that amid long queues of devotees, stand a number of chess champions because of the special bond the temple shares with the sport.

“It is perhaps the only temple where priests can talk about chess and legends like Anand, Bobby Fischer and Garry Casparov,” said Pandit Shyamji Pathak, son of late Ramji Pathak, the main priest.

More than the priest, Ramji Pathak was famous for chess and wrestling.

“He had started promoting chess some three decade backs. Himself a great player of chess and wrestling, whatever time he used to get after offering prayers to Maa Kalyani, he used to spend time in honing his skills in chess. He started district level championship in 1990 to promote local youth. In 1992, he organised state-level championship,” said Shyamji, who started organising the championship after the death of his father in 2002.

“With the blessings of Goddess Kalyani many renowned chess players, who used to attend these competitions at the local level, made their name in the country and abroad. Some of them include Dinesh Sharma who is International Master, Gajendra Singh Chauhan, Hariom Sharma, ND Singh and Pradeep Pathak who became district champion at the age of 14 years. He was seven times open state champion and even got the job in GPO (post office) from sports quota,” he added.

Another chess player ND Singh who got the job at Delhi Public School in Greater Noida due to his skill in chess game said he got the inspiration to play the game from the priests of Kalyani Devi temple only.

“I now run online Guru Chess Academy to given coaching to budding players,” he added.

Anandji (pappanji) Tandon who is also a chess player said they were now organising the state-level championship of chess from September 1 with a prize money of Rs 1 lakh. “In the next few years we will make Allahabad the chess capital of UP,” he added.