Arshiya Das from Tripura wins the S. Krishnan Scholarship of Rs.50,000
Over the years, the Help Chess Foundation, founded by ChessBase India, has helped many young, talented chess players all over the country, realize their dream of pursuing chess. With the support of many people, this community has only grown over time. The idea behind this initiative was to provide talented players with help that would help them grow in their chess journey. This not only helps the chess players in their journey but also gives a chance to chess enthusiasts who want to contribute to the community in some way. One such player that has been on the receiving end of the S. Krishnan Scholarship is Arshiya Das, a young talent from Tripura. The donor, Kartik Krishnan, is a regular chess follower and wanted to play his part as an active member of the community. Find out more about both individuals in this article.
While chess is a game that can easily be played and enjoyed by all, it is extremely hard to pursue it as a career for many. Mostly because receiving proper training and guidance requires a lot of money, which cannot be easily afforded by all. Keeping that in mind, For many years now, ChessBase has been supporting the chess community in India by providing them with the funds that are essential for the growth of young talents.
The Help Chess Foundation was started in 2018 by ChessBase India, and over the years, it has only grown. Many people joined the journey, and with their help today, we are able to help countless kids all over India pursue their chess goals.
Due to the chess boom in India, many new people joined the community, and among them was one such person named Kartik Krishnan. This young man is a Design Researcher, strategist, and educator. Kartik works in the field of Social innovation and is currently working at the Design Lab at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard. Kartik is a chess lover and a follower of Chessbase India. He used to follow the streams and every news item in the chess community. As soon as he learned about the scholarship, he knew he wanted to help the chess community grow in some way.
He met Sagar at the ChessBase India Chess Club in Phoenix Market City in 2022 and discussed his wish to give a scholarship of Rs. 50,000 to support the chess journey of a girl child from an economically disadvantaged background. Due to some personal reasons, the cause took a little time to come into action, but it eventually happened this year when Kartik reached out to ChessBase India.
After a lot of consideration, Kartik chose Arshiya Das, a young girl from Tripura, as the recipient of the scholarship. The S. Krishnan Scholarship is named after Kartik’s father, who introduced him to the game. We had a brief discussion with Kartik regarding his chess journey, his intentions behind donating his scholarship, and more.
Interview with Kartik Krishnan
Sagar Shah (SS): Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your profession? How did your interest in chess begin?
Kartik Krishnan(KK): Hi, I am Kartik Krishnan, and I hail from Mumbai. I am a Design Researcher and Strategist. A simple way of explaining what I do is through creative problem-solving. I conduct qualitative ethnographic research to understand people, their needs, and their behaviours. Based on these insights, we create interventions that we prototype and test with the users, then iterate to make them better. I focus on the social development sector. I have worked in the fields of Healthcare, education, and Financial Inclusion. My Chess journey started with my dad introducing the game to my sister and me when we were really young. I was hooked on it instantly.
SS: Can you tell us a bit more about S. Krishnan, your father, in whose name this scholarship has been instituted?
KK: To put it very simply, my father is my hero. I owe everything that I have in life to him and my mother. He is very easy to get along with and have fun with. He has a razor-sharp wit and a remarkable ability to deliver quips with a very straight face.
Like I mentioned earlier, my father is the one who introduced the game of chess to me. Initially, I was never able to defeat my father, and I have memories of being a bad loser and pushing the pieces away in frustration when I'd get check-mated or realise that's where the game was heading. My father was also someone who wouldn't just throw the game because he was playing a child, so when I finally managed to beat him for the first time, the victory meant a great deal to me. I knew that I had fully earned the victory. This showed me that perseverance eventually pays off.
SS: Why did you decide to institute a scholarship with the HelpChess Foundation?
KK: Firstly, the Team at ChessBase India has been doing such a remarkable job promoting the sport in India and globally for so many years now. I had been following your work for a few years prior to the pandemic, when there weren't too many chess creators around, and your efforts to demystify the world of chess and make it more accessible are commendable. As someone without connections in the chess world who wanted to contribute in a small way, the transparency with which you operate made it a no-brainer to approach the HelpChess Foundation.
SS: Why did you decide to support Arshiya Das?
KK: I think there were a lot of worthy and deserving candidates. As a multiple-time state champion, Arshiya's achievements speak for themselves. She has showcased immense potential, participating in and winning multiple tournaments both domestically and internationally. She really is an incredible candidate to be the first person to receive the S. Krishnan scholarship.
SS: What is your vision for the S. Krishnan scholarship?
KK: My vision for the S. Krishnan scholarship is to support promising young talents who need financial assistance to fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide more opportunities for young female players.
Arshiya Das: The bright talent and recipient of the S. Krishnan Scholarship
Arshiya Das, a young chess master hailing from Tripura, has won many laurels in the chess world at a very young age. She is a national chess champion and the first and only girl chess player from north-east India to win a gold medal in chess on an international level.
Arshiya’s chess journey began at the age of 5, and in 2019, she won a gold medal in the Asian School Chess Championship, which was held in Uzbekistan. She won a bronze medal twice in the National Chess Championship in 2017 and 2019. For four consecutive years, Arshiya was awarded Best Player of the Year by the Tripura Sports Journalist Club. However, her first national under-7 certificate came in 2016, when she came 10th in the 30th National Under-7 open and girls chess championship, which was organised by the Pondicherry State Chess Association on behalf of the All India Chess Federation.
In the lockdown, Arshiya played in around 500 online chess tournaments organised by FIDE, AICF, and more clubs. Arshiya’s hard work, passion, and talent were soon recognised, and in 2021 she received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puruskar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself tweeted, congratulating her for the same. With a bright future ahead of her, we are proud to support her with this scholarship, which will further support her in her chess career.
Interview with Arshiya Das’s Father:
Sagar Shah (SS): Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Purnendu Das (PD): I am Purnendu Das, the father of Arshiya Das. I am a government employee (B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering) staying in the department quarter at Agartala, Tripura, North East. Mrs. Arnisha Nath Das is the mother of Arshiya, and she is a housewife (with a Master's Degree in Education).
SS: When and where was Arshiya born? Does she have siblings?
PD: She was born in Agartala, Tripura, in the year 2010 (03/03/2010). She is our single Girl child.
SS: What were some of the things in her childhood that you felt made her intelligent?
PD: From her childhood, she was very curious to know about new things. Also, she can remember many things, like the birthday Dates of all our relatives, and while we travel with her outside our states, she can easily remember the vehicle numbers, etc.
SS: How did Arshiya learn chess?
PD: During her nursery classes, while her mother tried to give her breakfast before leaving for school, she was supposed to sit in front of the desktop and try to play games like other kids. One day she found the chess game (which was default loaded in Windows) and tried to play it, asking us about the details of this game. After a few days, while we visited one shopping mall along with her, she quickly recognised one chess board there and demanded from us that she want that game, which she found that day on her PC. So as parents, to fulfil her demand, we purchased the Chess Board that day. In this way, she developed an interest in chess and started enjoying it.
SS: Who was her first trainer?
PD: While we noticed her interest in chess, we talked with some local senior chess players, and they suggested that she get the right way of learning chess. Then we requested Mr. Ramesh Kalai (a senior player of our state) and Mr. RK Apollosana Mangam from Manipur, and she started practising proper chess with them in the years 2015–2016 (while she was 5 years old).
SS: When you got to know that she was good, how did you plan her improvement?
PD: In her first local club tournament, she quickly grabbed everyone's attention with her good moves. So after getting good comments from all, we planned to play her first Under-7 Girls National Chess tournaments in the year 2016 at Pondicherry (while she was 6 years old). She played very well there and got 10th rank in her first National with a few days of training, with a score of 8 in 11 rounds.
After her good performance in National U-7 tournaments, we planned for her proper training and good tournaments.
SS: What were some of her initial successes?
PD: Initially, in many local tournaments (Rated and Unrated), she got Best Youngest Player trophies. Also Tripura state champion in her age group. After her success in the 2016 U-7 National, we planned for better results in her U-7 National in 2017 (her last U-7 Girls National) at Vijaywada, AP. There she got her first National Medal (the Bronze Medal) with an 8.5/11 score and was selected to represent India in "Asian Youth 2018 in Thailand and "World Cadet 2018 in Spain (in the Under-8 Girls Cat).
SS: Which are the chess books or software that Arshiya reads or uses?
PD: Chess Books that Arshiya uses: Build up your chess; Boost up your chess; Encyclopaedia of Chess Combinations; Wood Picker; Pump up your ratings. Calculation by Jacob A. Aagard and many more.
Softwares:- ChessBase 16
SS: Who are the people who have helped her improve at chess?
PD: To improve chess, many of our well-wishers, family members, Her school, Holy Cross, Agartala, and her chess coaches helped her a lot.
SS: What are some of her best achievements in chess?
PD: 1. Gold medal in Asian School Chess Championship, Uzbekistan-2019. (Gold)
2. Bronze medal in Asian School Chess Championship , Uzbekistan- 2019 (Bronze)
3. Gold Medal in Asian School Chess Championship, Uzbekistan- 2019 (Gold)
4. Bronze Medal in Asian School Chess Championship, Uzbekistan- 2019 (Bronze)
5. Asian Youth Chess Championship, Thailand- 2018 (14th Rank)
6. World Cadet Chess Championship, Spain- 2018 (13th Rank)
7. Commonwealth Chess Championship, New Delhi- 2019 (5th Rank)
8. 32nd National Under-7 girls Chess Championship, Vijawada- 2017 (Bronze)
9. National U-11 Girls & Open Chess Championship, Delhi- 2019 (Bronze)
10. 8th National School Chess Championship, Raipur- 2019 (Gold U-9)
11. National Sub-junior Girls & Open Chess Championship, New Delhi- 2022 (7th Rank)
12. 17th North Eastern States Chess Championship, Tripura- 2016 (Gold in U-9)
13. 18th North Eastern States Chess Championship, Shillong -2017 (Bronze U-9)
14. 19th North Eastern States Chess Championship, Sikkim- 2018 (Gold in U-9)
15. Tripura State Senior chess championship, Tripura -2022 (3rd Rank)
16. Tripura State Senior Women Chess Champion in 2021 & 2023- (2 Time Champion 2021 & 2023)- (1st Rank)
Many times State Champion in Under-7,9, 11,13,15,17 age category.
Also, she was awarded the prestigious "Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Award-2021." and Tripura state second citizen award "TRIPURA BHUSHUN-2021".
She was also the recipient of the Best Player of the Year award in the chess category in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, awarded by the TSJC (Tripura Sports Journalists Club).
SS: What are her future plans?
PD: This year she will play in all the National Chess Championships along with her own age group, Under-12. Also some of the best tours outside our country.
SS: Can you tell us about the financial issues that you face and how they stop Arshiya's progress?
PD: As we are staying in the north-east part of our country, it is very expensive to move throughout the many states to play many tournaments. So we need to choose only a few of the best tournaments for her. Also, in our state, we don’t have any coaches for her day-to-day practices. So every time we need to move outside our states or we need to bring coaches from other states, which is also very expensive for us. As a result, her improvement in chess is also going slower.
SS: With the funds that you will receive, how do you plan to use them?
PD: We convey our sincere thanks to our Sagar Sir, ChessBase India and Kartik sir, for believing in our Arshiya and selecting her for this HelpChes Foundation Scholarship. With this valuable Scholarship, we will plan some good tournaments for Arshiya in India and coaching also.
SS: Who is Arshiya's favourite player in chess?
PD: Alexander Alekhine due to his attacking style.
SS: What is Arshiya's aim in chess?
PD: I asked this question to Arshiya and she said she wants to be a strong player with an Elo of 2500+.
SS: What would you like to say to Kartik Krishnan, who is supporting Arshiya with this scholarship of Rs. 50,000?
PD: We, the parents of Arshiya, would like to thank our respected Kartik sir for supporting our only girl child, Arshiya, to fulfil her dreams in Chess. Though we have never met with you, sir, you have extended this support to our daughter, Arshiya. Always keep your blessings for her so that she can add stars to the glory of our community, city, state, supporters, and our beloved country, India.
Previous coverage of Arshiya on ChessBase India:
About Help Chess Foundation
HelpChess is a registered charitable Trust with 80G tax benefits run by ChessBase India. If you would like to contribute towards the growth of Indian chess players, please go to the official website and become a believer or a big believer (contribution above Rs.50,000). If you are a big believer then you can give a name to your scholarship by writing to us at email@example.com. We can assure you that every single penny that you contribute will be used to support Indian chess players.