We have a GM in waiting, IM Sagar Shah from Ghatkopar and, if you ask him the mantra behind his success - without an iota of doubt he will reply that he owes his sucess to 'Bournvita Inter-School Chess Tournament, which ran for 10-successive years from 1995 to 2004!! It was a quaility tournament - a rarity to find these days as we have put our lives on fast-track! (you can read full text of his article on: http://sagarteacheschess.blogspot.in/2014/05/chess-in-mumbai-then-and-now.html)
Well, the current generation of players might be wondering as to why this event was so special? I can definitely say that this event shaped many a life of great players from Mumbai. Besides Sagar, you ask IM Aditya Udeshi and IM Prasanna Rao!
On my part, I was privileged to officiate as 'Chief Arbiter' in the first and last edition! It was held in classical format with 11-rounds scheduled over a period of 4-days for 2-groups each. Thus, the event went on for 8-days.
It made a small beginning with 400 players participating in the 1st edition and ended with 2200+ students!! Held in two stages for 4-categories (Under-08/10/12/14), Such was the magnitude of this event that parents planned their Diwali holidays nearly 3 months in advance after adjusting the tournament schedule.
Amongst the participants were children of Mumbai's top VIPs and, I was fortunate to meet Kumaramangalam Birla as both his daughters were participating in this event. He came to me and asked as to how the things are going on and expressed happiness at seeing children participating in thousands!
And, I can say that I was stumped by his simplicity and down-to-earth attitude. It did not matter to him that the event was taking in a basement of sports complex (The 1st two editions were held at Patuck High School and later on at Don Bosco Matunga and thereafter at Prabhodhankar Thackrey Sports Complex, Vile Parle.) with no air-conditioning and, an above average lighting. What was important for him was that his daughters were enjoying the event!
We also had late actor and MP, Sunil Dutt as the Chief Guest for this said last event and, before that I had managed GM Sriram Jha and IM Vishal Sareen as the 'Chief Guests'.
The stoppage of this event created a sort of vaccuum in Mumbai chess for nearly a decade however, all of these will change in three weeks from now as we are all set to revive this event - of course, in a new Avatar (e are yet to get a sponsor and the event will be naned after them).
Please mark the dates:
- 26 to 28 October, 2014 (Under-08 and Under-12 for Boys and Girls separate)
- 29 to 31 October, 2014 (Under-10 and Above-12 for Boys and Girls separate)