700 people learn Chess at the Big Summer Camp 2023
It's a mall located in the busy city of Mumbai. When you enter it, you will find the mall is huge and quite spectacular, but nothing will really alarm you about it. But take the escalator and go to the Lower Ground floor and the Atrium 5 area and you will see something magical happening! What exactly? The Big Chess Summer Camp was held there by ChessBase India and it was one of the biggest chess camps out there. More than 700 people learned chess and got better at the game. And the best part? The camp was free and open to all. How was this done, check out the article to know more.
This was a chess camp like no other. More than 700 players learned chess at the Big Chess Summer Camp. It was held at the Phoenix Marketcity Mall in Mumbai and organized by ChessBase India. What made this 10-day camp truly unique?
1. It was free of cost and open to players of all ages
2. We used a model of training which involved the use of sheets for different levels. In all there were 32 levels. The curriculum was designed in a way that if someone who didn't know how chess works attended the camp, they would end the camp with the ability to play a good game of chess.
3. It was a self paced camp - which meant that anyone could come any number of days or for any number of hours and learn at his or her own pace.
Now in order to make this entire camp work, an extremely key ingredient were the trainers and the volunteers. They were the heart of this camp. The amount of time, energy and dedication that they put in was phenomenal. Volunteers poured in their heart and soul and this enabled so many people to learn chess. We not only had a three-year-old boy who attended the camp, but also 62-year-old grandmom who learnt how to play chess for the first time in her life. And while many of the volunteers applied to be a part of this camp, there were many who finished all the sheets as students and then felt the urge to help others. Among them was 8-year-old Aarish, the youngest volunteer of the camp. The young boy did a phenomenal job of helping others improve at chess.
We had a lot of mothers who came to the camp and worked hard through all the days to learn the game. Many of them didn't know even how the pieces moved, but went back home with a certificate in their hand!
Certificates were given to all those who worked hard and finished all the sheets in the camp. Close to 50 people completed all the sheets. FI Praful Zaveri was the chief guest of the day and he gifted his famous book Chess Course to four players who worked with extreme dedication in the camp.
When one looks at the camp from the outside, you would see that there was extreme chaos. There was noise and people were moving from one place to another. How does one learn chess in such an environment? However, on closer inspection you will realize that there are beautiful things happening - people are sharing their knowledge, they are helping each other and there is a free flow of positive energy. It's a place where everyone who comes falls in love with this game. We would often see people coming with some apprehension on their face and after a few minutes could not stop solving one sheet after another! They were hooked.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Phoenix Marketcity for being such wonderful partners and supporting us in our endeavour to spread this beautiful game of chess. The Big Chess Summer Camp was a huge success and we hope that we will be able to bring this concept of chess all across India and the world. At several points many people came to us at the registration desk and asked, what is the fee for this camp. They couldn't believe it when we said there was no fee for the camp! Well, what can we say? Some things are even more precious than money and the joy of learning and teaching chess is one of them! :)
Do visit the ChessBase India Chess Club in Phoenix Marketcity every Saturday from 5-7 p.m. to be a part of this beautiful chess community in Mumbai.
Videos from the camp:
All photos of the camp can be found here