Meet Yogesh Gautam. Gautam talks chess. Gautam walks chess. Gautam breathes chess. And now Gautam has started a crowdfunding campaign so that he can embark on a 50,000km road journey to promote chess in the interiors of India. Starting on October 5, from Jammu and Kashmir, his itinerary includes places such as Bikaner (Rajasthan), Katch (Gujarat), Katni (Madhya Pradesh), Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu), Agartala (Tripura) and his hometown Bhiwani, Haryana. “I will teach kids Chess, and will distribute chess sets for free, DVDs and books on the game in remote areas. As all of this require funds, I have started a crowd funding campaign for it,” he says.
The 21-year-old says that he is also aiming to break the Guinness world record for the longest journey by car in a country. “The Guinness World Record for the longest journey by car in a country is 36,060.1km. By travelling 50,000km, I’m hoping to break that record as well. However, that will only be the icing on the cake. The main motive for me to aim for setting these world records is also only to draw more attention towards chess,” adds Gautam.
A recent graduate from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC),Delhi University, Gautam says that his college has helped him nurture his love for the game. “Not a lot of colleges go the extra mile for their sports students, but my teachers supported me a lot. Not only would I get attendance for my tournaments and practice sessions, the teachers would also give me extra classes just so I could catch up on my coursework,” he says.
About his love for the game, Gautam says his affair with chess began over a decade ago when his sister gifted him a chess set. He says, “People in our country don’t know the game and don’t care about it. All state champions get a scholarship but when I asked the district sports officer, he didn’t even know about chess. Aaj tak mujhe koi scholarship nahi mili hai. In my own state, many have been celebrated for bringing Olympic medals in various sports, but many still don’t consider chess a sport. I want to change that.”