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17-year-old Beverly Mendonca composes her first song - "Go Corona Go"

by Sagar Shah - 13/10/2020

Beverly Mendonca is a chess enthusiast from Goa and well known in the chess world for her creativity. She is a FIDE rated player and chess runs in her family! She is the sister of Leon Mendonca, one of India's most talented youngsters in chess. The family has been going through a very tough time in the Covid-19 situation with Leon and Lyndon (father) stranded in Europe and Beverly and Anita (mother) at their home in Goa. In such a tense and stressful situation your creativity can go for a toss! But Beverly has risen to the occasion and come out with truly something special. Check out her first song which is written, directed and composed by her - "Go Corona Go"!

The Mendoncas

Meet the Mendonca family (from left to right): mother Anita, son Leon, daughter Beverly and father Lyndon)

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a hard time for the Mendonca family. Lyndon (father) and Leon (son) were playing tournaments in Europe when the global pandemic struck. Flights to India were cancelled and the two of them got stuck in Budapest, Hungary. Anita (mother) and Beverly (daughter) were at their homes in Goa. The news of Leon and Lyndon not returning for months was not easy. To add to it, Anita being a doctor had to be on the front line dealing with the Covid patients. For Beverly sitting at home, hoping each day that her mother would return safely and wishing that her brother and father would be fine thousands of miles away was not easy. But as they say, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade!

The ever smiling and lively Beverly Mendonca

Knowing Beverly

I have known Leon since quite a few years now. He is just 14 years old and already and IM with a 2500+ Elo rating. Very soon he will be one of the best players of the country. However, I got to know Beverly only in 2018. At the Goa GM international 2018 she would often enter the commentary room and check out what the members of the ChessBase India team were doing. She herself is a decent player with a FIDE Elo of 1271, but it was quite clear to me that chess was not were her interests lay. One day after she completed her game she came to the commentary room. I asked her about the result and we were chatting about the game when I saw her scoresheet.

This is what Beverly had drawn during the game!

Beverly's pawn was queening and seeing this situation on the board, she imagined how her own king would shepherd the pawn towards becoming a queen! In this one page of sketching you could see the tremendous imagination that the youngster possessed! That excited look on the pawn's face, dreaming about becoming a queen, the triumphant look on the king's face who knows that he will win the game! All of this created a deep impression on me and on the final day I decided to know more about her.

Watch this interview to see some more of Beverly's amazing creativity

Creating something special

With the family scattered and her future uncertain, it could be quite possible that Beverly would have lost her sense of creativity and imagination in the lockdown. But tough times bring out the best in fighters. She sat down and started writing a song on the pandemic situation that had hit the world. "As you probably know me by now," says Beverly, " Right from my childhood to date any free time for me is an opportunity to sketch some crazy cartoons and hum some funky tunes. With Corona having bombarded every possible news channel and social media platform, I decided to compose a song and a few poems and sketches that would strike a sentimental chord in each and everyone of us in some special way." Beverly has been learning the piano for many years. So creating music wasn't something new to her. But to create a full-fledged song with music production, lyrics, video etc. was not going to be easy.

Beverly on the piano composing the song!

Going all in

"It all started with this initial tune in my mind which I decided to write down and work on it along with the piano. I slowly started building up on it in my spare time. I am constantly thinking out of the box and wanted my creation to be rather unique. I have kept the entire composition offbeat and incorporated some rap also to connect with all genres. The audio done at home was complete from my end but I still felt the urge to notch it up further by recording it in a  professional studio along with a video in order to reach out and connect to a wider audience."

Recording in a professional studio - look at that intensity

But with lockdowns in place, wouldn't getting the song done professionally in Goa be a huge challenge? "My mother being a doctor and a frontline Covid warrior has always been my greatest source of inspiration and motivation!", says Beverly. "She as usual immediately seized the challenge and got in touch with some local recording studios. For the 1st time in my life I did a professional audio recording and we were all totally amazed with the quality difference. The videographers along with my mother and myself carefully curated studios, costumes, appropriate locations from different sites of our beautiful Goa based on the theme and weaved out this song!"

With the guitar!

In front of a typical colourful Goan building!

The Rap part of the song aptly shot at night in front of the Mandovi river

And of course, if you are in Goa you have to shoot it at the beach!

Listen to the full song!

Go Corona Go - Beverly Mendonca

For me this song is an embodiment of two things - Beverly's amazing talent and the Mendonca family's tenacity. None of this would have ever been possible if Beverly didn't have this ability to come up something truly unique and creative. But it takes a lot of courage to invest time, money and effort in this entire project when your family is split in two different continents and life is in chaos due to the pandemic. Be it Lyndon leaving his job or enrolling Leon in a school in Chennai for his chess career or publishing Beverly's book on chess fiction, Lyndon and Anita have always gone the distance to ensure that Beverly and Leon do justice to their talent. This song is just another testament of the willpower and dedication of the entire family.

Pushing each other to achieve their full potential - The Mendoncas!

Beverly's Corona creativity 

Apart from the song, Beverly has also done some sketches and poems on the pandemic situation. Have a look at them and make sure you pay attention to the little details!

As humans continue to destroy the earth, the Corona virus takes over!

The Genesis of the Covid-19 virus!

Like a rockstar

Ways to combat the virus!

Checkmate Corona poem Part I

Checkmate Corona Poem Part II

What's happened to the pieces in the lockdown? My favourite part is Who's Knightier (mightier!)

Pin-dits for Bishops!

The queen's gossip is hilarious!

Chess has definitely survived and thrived by going online

Will we see a Corona Gambit variation coming up?