The Big Chess Summer Camp celebrates the beauty of chess
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!
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.)
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
Photos from the camp
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.
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!
|5||Anaisha Sagar Sanjvn|
|9||Niyanti Sagar Sangvi|
|16||Dhyay sujay parekh|
|35||Jay Bhaven Shah|
|36||Mahika Bhaven Shah|
|47||Aditya Rajendra Sharma|
|48||Suman Rajendra Sharma|
|64||Devanshi Nirav Bhatt|
|65||Ovi Suraj Kom|
|66||Rutvi Sainath Kom|
|115||Samrat Ganesh Salve|
|138||Abdul Vahad Shaikh|
|170||Nitesh Vasant Gaikwad|
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!