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The Big Chess Summer Camp celebrates the beauty of chess

by Sagar Shah - 19/05/2023

The Big Chess Summer Camp has completed three days and more than 220 players have been trained. The camp is held at the Phoenix Marketcity mall in Kurla, Mumbai and is open to all. There are no charges and people can learn chess in a fun and engaging way through sheets at their own pace. The camp has trainers and volunteers who help to educate the people and guide them in the right direction. This article shows how chess is being celebrated at the camp and how there is so much diversity to the people attending the camp. 

A few years ago, we met the co-founder of ChessBase Frederic Friedel. He decided to show us a little trick. He would hold a 5 Euro note in his hand and ask us to catch it whenever he dropped it. Seems quite simple doesn't it. But we could never catch it mid-air. Every time he would leave it, it would fall on the ground. Let me do it, I said. Here you go, said Frederic, handing me the note. Every time I left it from my hand, he would catch it. I just couldn't believe what was happening. How was it that every time Frederic left the note from his hand, it would land on the floor and every time I left it, he would catch it mid-air. After trying it for many many times, I finally asked him the secret. "I don't think about when I want to leave the note", said Frederic. "So you have no way of knowing when I am going to leave it!" What? I couldn't even understand his explanation back then. How can this be the answer to it. But later when I thought deeply about it, I understood Frederic was right. I was too obsessed about when I want to leave the note from the fingertips and he would understand my intention. While I had no way of knowing it because even Frederic didn't know it! Sometimes not having a plan can be a good idea!

Frederic Friedel, the co-founder of ChessBase. Apart from the stellar coverage he has done for chess, he is loved in the chess community for his logical puzzles and tricks! In the above picture he is with Anish Giri and D.Gukesh at the WR Masters 2023 in Germany.

In some ways this is how we wanted to approach the Big Chess Summer Camp that was planned from the 16th of May to 25th of May 2023. We wanted to chalk the outline of what we wanted to do at the camp. But what we didn't want to control was how people would behave. We wanted it to be chaotic, we wanted people to move around. We wanted learning to spread in all directions! It should not always be a one-way stream - from the teacher to the student. And when you plan it this way, you need to make sure that there is some structure to it (the sheets we had planned) but enough room for people to find their own creative way to solve them (where to sit, with whom to sit, how to solve. at what speed to solve etc.)

The official leaflet of the Big Chess Summer Camp 2023

The Phoenix Marketcity mall in Kurla, Mumbai - the home of the ChessBase India Chess Club for over 14 months and now the venue for the Big Chess Summer Camp

Head coordinator of the camp Abhyudya taking entries of the people joining the camp

The setup of the camp consists of close to 40 tables arranged in a way that there are chess boards and people can come, take a seat and start learning. Solving sheets is the main aspect of the camp and we have 32 of them. But you can also come and play chess and learn chess from the volunteers and head coaches.

When we ideated over how the flow should be, we had decided that whenever someone entered the arena, we would ask them if they knew how the chess pieces move or not. And if they did not know they would move to a dedicated area where moves would be taught ever hour by one of the trainers. However, when the camp began, it just so happened that everyone, whether you knew the rules or did not know the rules, would come into the training area and a volunteer would teach the rules. Sometimes one could witness that a student who knew the rules would also teach them to someone who did not! It was amazing.

 

Once someone knows the rules, he/she is given the first sheet to work with. Each sheet has 6-10 positions and there are a total of 32 sheets. The sheets bring in the element of the camp being a self paced one. You don't have the stress of learning under time pressure. You can do it at your pace. Some do 20 sheets in a day, some do 3-4. If you finish all 32 of the sheets you get a special certificate and at the same time you get to participate in the 4th Saturday ChessBase India Chess Club prize money tournament that will take place on 27th of May 2023. Apart from solving of sheets, you can get your doubts cleared from the trainers and the volunteers and also play games against players of similar strength. Often I would sit down with players to understand their strengths and weaknesses deeper and guide them.

Videos of the camp

A chess camp like no other
Everyone's learning chess at their own pace
4-year-old boy learns chess at the camp!
Samay Raina visited day 1 of the camp and took on a 10-year-old youngster

Photos from the camp

The head trainer of the camp Priyanka Ved with Rakshit Singh. Rakshit has travelled all the way from Bangalore and has helped us tremendously with making of the sheets.

The entire family entered the training arena, sat down at a table and started playing chess!

The joy of playing chess! Look at their expressions!

The father and son duo of Milan and Hrishiv Trivedi are absolutely adorable. Milan (father) doesn't know chess and he works out the complexities sitting together with his son Hrishiv. His patience is simply amazing.

The gift for being a wonderful father! 

He didn't know English, so couldn't understand the words written in the sheet, but he could understand the diagrams and solved nearly 15 sheets in one day.

Her son plays chess, but she was keen to improve on her chess as well. One of the most dedicated students of the camp.

My parents visited the chess club on day one. My father is the one who taught me chess and he solved a few sheets! Although my mother has been closely involved with my chess journey, she never really learnt the rules of the game. In this camp she took her initial steps.

They played chess when they were young. Now after nearly 4 decades they came back, got their chess rules refreshed and they played a game!

Look at how the mother is helping her son learn the basics of the game!

Chess is fun for all!

Vanita Gala loves to play tournaments and she is using this camp to brush up on her playing skills

Shraddha Samani is a former national champion of India in under-14 and under-16 category. She stopped playing chess 2 decades ago, but she is here with her daughter Meha.

But the mom couldn't stay away from chess pieces for long! The former national champion played her first chess game after 20 years!

Co-director of Alma Matters on Netflix Prashant Raj with his daughter Vidya! 🙂 They solved 7 sheets together today!

The boy started playing chess in the lockdown watching streams of Samay and ChessBase India. Everyone in his family knew chess except his mom. And so he brought his mom to the camp and...

...diligently works with her!

Gurkirat Singh has been a long standing moderator of the ChessBase India YouTube channel and he joined in as a volunteer

Nithin Chandan, one of the head coaches of the camp, making sure as many people as possible learn chess!

Radha Gandhi had just finished her 10th grade exams. She joined in as a volunteer in the camp.

Rakshit Singh flew all the way from Bangalore to be a part of this and has been helping us tremendously. Not only as a volunteer but also in the making of the sheets and streamlining the sheets.

4-year-old Samyak was walking in the mall with his parents when he saw the chess board and started shouting CHESS CHESS! We invited him and his parents into the training arena and the boy had a great time!

This was all written by Samyak himself

Rakshit Singh, who has come all the way from Bangalore to help us with the camp, makes sure that everyone learns chess. At this camp we have had a lot of moms learning chess!

Shashank is an amazing volunteer at the camp and teaches everyone with great patience!

Perhaps the most heart warming story is that of Hassan (right) and Muzzamil. They live in a nearby area called Kajupada and they come everyday to the camp. The family of Muzzamil is not aware because they wouldn't allow him to go to a mall alone, but he wants to become a good chess player and so he comes to the mall with his friend Hassan! 🙂

The story of this picture is very nice. We had a rickshaw driver who was watching things happening from the sidelines of the training arena. We invited him to solve the sheets. He said he didn't know chess but he will come in some time. He came back in some time and brought his friend over. He was the man on the right. He played a game with a young boy at the camp. He lost the game, but said he is slowly getting his touch back! 🙂 We look forward to him coming back.

Ayush Yadav is concentration personified when it comes to solving the positions

Sneha Waykar is a chess boxer. She is the current national champion of India in chess boxing and she comes to the camp after her boxing practice. She is a much superior boxer than a chess player and with this camp she wants to bridge the gap and become a more rounded chess boxer.
This video shows how Sneha boxes! I am surely not going to get into an argument with her!

Vidit Gujrathi's parents pay a visit to the camp

Vidit Gujrathi's parents along with his sister Vedika had travelled from Nashik to Mumbai for some personal work. On their way back they decided to stop at the ChessBase India Chess Club for the Big Summer Camp. We organized a Q&A session with them which was entitled "How to raise a Super GM". Below you can find the 40-minute interaction with Santosh and Nikita Gujrathi and can take home many things from it.

Vidit's parents with Sagar Shah moderating the session

Vidit's sister Vedika was also present and answered some of the questions

Quite a few people stayed back to gain from the precious nuggets of information given by Vidit's parents

A final selfie before saying goodbye!
How to raise a super GM | Q&A with Vidit Gujrathi's parents

Name of the students:

All the people who have visited the Big Chess Summer Camp and have begun solving the sheets, their names are mentioned below. At the end of three days we have been able to help 221 players either improve their chess or learn chess from scratch. We hope that by the end of day 10 we would be able to reach 1000 people!

1Aayush Belekar
2Vaishbhav Salunkhe
3Afzal Khan
4Ayat Khan
5Anaisha Sagar Sanjvn
6Aashvi Maheshwari
7Kiyyan Sanjgvi
8Rajesh Maheshwari
9Niyanti Sagar Sangvi
10Soham Neogi
11Jagannath Yadav
12Omkar Pal
13Sukriya Kamble
14Hardik Solanki
15Rohan Solanki
16Dhyay sujay parekh
17Rebecca Fernandez
18Naksh Malllik
19Pratik Ohja
20Sahil Shaikh
21Neha Parekh
22Dhruv Tailor
23Chandrakant Reddy
24Hrishiv Trivedi
25Milan Trivedi
26Ammar
27PRASOON
28Reena Tyagi
29Ayush Yadav
30Kavan Mehta
31Sufiyan Chaudhary
32Furkan Farooqui
33Aayush Kannan
34Pangajam Kannan
35Jay Bhaven Shah
36Mahika Bhaven Shah
37Chandan Shah
38Shubham Sahasrabudhe
39Azeem Akthar
40Manas Mishra
41Rushank Sakre
42Shivaansh Kothari
43Shilpesh Kothari
44Naresh Vyas
45Chandrashekhar Amin
46Aditya Nestry
47Aditya Rajendra Sharma
48Suman Rajendra Sharma
49Harsh Vasa
50Ajinkya Katke
51Varad
52Shivam
53Sahil Solanki
54Aarush Deshpande
55Lakshita
56Heya
57Anugrah
58Dev
59Afzal Akhtar
60Ghazal Siddiqui
61Krishna
62malayaj
63Prem
64Devanshi Nirav Bhatt
65Ovi Suraj Kom
66Rutvi Sainath Kom
67Viransh Cheda
68Nandini Nerul
69Revathi Rathore
70Akmal Khan
71Sundusn Khan
72Ummehani Khan
73Abhushad Khan
74Namratha Chavan
75Smit jetly
76Chirag Gharat
77Mahesh yadav
78Raj Mehta
79Atul Salunke
80Vanita gala
81Hassan Sayyed
82Muzammil
83Khan Jamil
84Rushank Raheja
85Aryan Patel
86Harshal Shah
87Akshat Prajapath
88Kanhaiya Prajapati
89Aarav Shah
90Arman Khan
91Rajvinder Singh
92Yadwinder Singh
93Naveen
94Sneha
95Shivani Ramaswamy
96Uttara Gandhi
97Sagar Naidu
98Aditi Vaskar
99Shashwat Roy
100Shwetanshu Roy
101Shreyas Dolare
102Bhavesh Ghutukade
103Krutika Pustake
104Veer Chakravarthy
105Akhilesh Sawanth
106Aayush Sohani
107Bhavya Patel
108Pankaj Yadav
109Sagar Bramhanlal
110Lamiyaa Fanuswala
111Anvi Aronbekar
112Bhavika Nagwekar
113Mayank Hinge
114Harshvardhan Pradhan
115Samrat Ganesh Salve
116Sneha Waykar
117Gaurav Pawar
118Prem Karira
119Nimesh Kshirsagar
120Nirmit Shah
121Shwetha
122Vaishnavi
123Satya Raj
124Vinod Gomtiwal
125Manish Kamble
126Prince Kamble
127Ujwala
128Shaarav Jain
129Rajan
130Sarah Fernandes
131Shiven Agrawal
132Raghav Jadhav
133Rishi Soni
134Aashrith Vikram
135Kavitha
136VV Ganeshan
137Aashrith Vikram
138Abdul Vahad Shaikh
139Nieve
140Feyona
141Dev Teli
142Aadvik Sunil
143Shubham
144Adbul Aziz-
145Ahmed Aleissa
146Omkar Jadhav
147Parth Awasare
148Aarish Gandhi
149Yash Sahasrabudhe
150Samar Patil
151Atharv Patil
152Ayan
153Vihan
154Azhar Khan
155Pratik Rathore
156Krishna Malay
157Om Pawar
158Preet
159Savya
160Vidya
161Prashant
162Pragya
163Pearl Jain
164Manav Natekar
165Hiaan
166Devansh
167Dviti
168Shubham Yadav
169Harsha Prasad
170Nitesh Vasant Gaikwad
171Chandrakant
172Shubham
173Rohan
174Sofiyan Ali
175Shubham Sinha
176Mohammad Usman
177Mohammad Hussain
178Mohammad Abuzar
179Mohammad Shad
180Zareen Fatima
181Satish Parab
182Samyak
183Nirav
184Pranvi
185Vasim Sayyed
186Sheikh Razi
187Abdul Malik
188Mohammad Arman
189Ayaan Ramrajkar
190Aaira Ramrajkar
191Aariz Parkar
192Teena
193Gaurav Kale
194Vedang Pandya
195Guna
196Shubham Wavre
197Sushant Kashid
198Maanav
199Chinmay Bhurke
200Faisal
201Parth
202Kashish Shah
203Khushi
204Virendra Shukla
205Deep
206Suraj
207Khushboo
208Sheikh Musharraf
209Satvik
210Zaid
211Ayaan
212Aysha Mirza
213Rishikesh Kadam
214Arya
215Harsh
216Harsada
217Amarjeet Singh
218Anisa
219Tufain
220Zaid
221Manjeesh Brijpal

 

If you are in and around Mumbai during this period, don't miss the opportunity to be a part of this Big Chess Summer Camp!


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