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Player loses but wins hearts

Being a “good sport” means taking loss in the stride.

other Updated: Jan 15, 2010 23:02 IST
Anupma Tripathi

Being a “good sport” means taking loss in the stride.

On Thursday, an 11-year-old showed everyone what a true sportsperson should be like, when he played the game fair and square and kept his spirit intact even in defeat.

Here for the Parsvnath Chess Tournament, Narayanan S.L. got a walkover as his first-round opponent and third seed, Ehsan Maghami Ghaem, failed to turn up on time because of a delayed flight.

When the Iranian finally arrived, he was told that his opponent had been given the walkover.

“They (the organisers) told me that only if my opponent agreed would I be able to play the round. I was like…I'm gone. But this boy just took a second and gave his nod,” said Maghami.

When asked, Narayanan said, “It's only fair to give him a chance. Besides, being able to play a GM (Grandmaster) is a big deal. This was the first time I have ever played a GM.”

Born in a lower-middle class family, Narayanan's father was a government contractor until he gave up the job to travel with his son. Said his father, P. Sunil Duth, “My wife took a service loan to support our son's expenses, which translates into a Rs 6,000 deduction from her salary every month.

“A measly Rs. 11,000 is not enough for my family of four. But we still do it for our son.”

For this state champion (under-9 in 2007 and under-11 in 2009), moral values and ethos gain precedence over winning or losing, “Once, in the U-9 championship, my opponent accused me of touching a piece.

“He registered a protest that eventually turned out to be false. But, it really hurt me. Subsequently, I lost all the rounds,” said young Narayanan.

“The boy showed sparks of brilliance and exhibited a great character.

“He may have lost the game but has won the respect of one and all. I have promised him a gift,” signed off Ehsan Maghami Ghaem.