chessbase india logo

The Surya Ganguly Dabaru Scholarship: Supporting ten young Chess talents from West Bengal

by Himank Ghosh - 10/05/2024

Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly is one of the strongest chess players and trainers from India, and the strongest till date in West Bengal. Today, a movie inspired on his life is coming out, titled "Dabaru" (The Chess player)! This is the first time in the history of Indian Cinema that a movie is being inspired by the life of a chess player. Celebrating the occasion with a magnanimous gesture, Surya Ganguly has decided to support 10 young talented Chess players from West Bengal via HelpChess - they will all receive Rs. 50,000 each! If you are a talented Chess player studying in the 10th standard or younger, please fill out the google form in the article below. Read the full article for more information on the movie and the scholarship!

A wonderful gesture from Surya Sekhar Ganguly

The first ever movie in India inspired by the life of a chess player - Dabaru!

Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly has had an illustrious chess career. He has won several strong tournaments, represented India in the Chess Olympiad many times, and gained many accolades as a chess trainer! He was the part of Vishy Anand's team during his World Championship matches, and recently has been Vidit Gujrathi's trainer - not to mention his work with many other players, his excellent video courses, and of course, how could we forget - the "Actually improving Chess" series teaching Chess to Samay Raina. A movie is releasing today, 10th May 2024 about his journey - titled "Dabaru"!

The official movie poster! The film is produced by Windows Production, and directed by Pathikrit Basu

The movie is coming out in theatres today - here are the show timings in Cinema Halls across West Bengal!

The Dabaru poster launch with all the top players of India during Tata Steel Chess India 2023!

Surya with the Dabaru film crew!

On this occasion, Surya is giving back to the chess community in West Bengal - he is supporting young talented Chess players from West Bengal with the Surya Ganguly Dabaru Scholarship! A sum of Rs. 5 Lakh will be distributed among 10 of the young talents from West Bengal - they will receive Rs. 50,000 each. We are proud that Surya has decided to do this via HelpChess! We are linking an application form below - if you are a young and talented chess player, studying in the 10th Standard or younger, please fill out the form linked below. Make sure to give detailed answers!

The Surya Ganguly Dabaru Scholarship

We asked a few questions to Surya Sekhar Ganguly about the movie and the scholarship. Check them out:

How did this movie inspired by your life come about?

GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly (SSG): I got a call from one of the very well known director/producers, Shiboprosad Mukherjee back in 2021. He said he wants to make a movie based on my childhood and the journey, also my family's journey. And then we met - I even remember the day exactly, 2nd January 2021. Pro Chess Training was launched on 1st January 2021, this thing happened on 2nd January. And on 3rd January, Arya was born! A lot of things happened back to back. I was initially very curious and also excited that something like this will happen. So that was the inception basically. It literally took 3 years come up with the idea and everything, but that was the inception.


Can you take us through the process of how the movie was made?

It took a lot of time, because it had to be figured out how to show everything in 2 hours. Also, they needed some sort of typical frame on which this kind of movie will be made, certain messages. When they read me the script for the first time, I realized that there are certain aspects which are far from reality, to which I cannot connect. There are many important characters which are not there, there are some fictional characters. The two boys who are playing my role, many things are also fictional there. So then I realized this cannot exactly be a biopic, it's an "inspired by" movie. So if I take incident by incident at a micro level, then I cannot relate. But if I see this from a macro point of view, if I see the overall journey, that I can relate. For me, the main thing which is very close to my heart is - my grandparents are shown in the movie, my family's journey. There are many aspects which are not there, my sister's role is not there at all, she has played a huge role in my life.

Surya's Grandfather in the movie, with young Souro (Surya's changed name in the movie) and a neighbour!

But anyways, from my side, I ensured that the technical parts are right. For example, all the chess positions shown in the movie are taken from my own games, atleast the ones that I am playing. Even in the other positions, everything will be relevant, so on the technical part there are no flaws. There are many life philosophies which are connected with chess which are shown in the movie. It'll be an uplifting movie not just from the chess point of view, but for life in general, many philosophical aspects and everything. I was there in shooting for two days, and my team was there for the other duration - mainly Samriddhha Ghosh, Arindam Mukherjee, they were present throughout more or less. They ensured that everything is taken care of, how the players will move, because it's also not easy. We have some kind of muscle memory, like I usually teach what is the reasoning behind a move, how to think. When I am teaching, I never teach someone how to make the move, how do you sit, how should you look at your opponent, how do you capture, like once you take the piece, how the other piece lands on the same square and how do you execute this in one single hand and then press the clock. In the first few days, I was teaching the kids these kind of things. But eventually the movie came out and when I saw the shooting, it was amazing how they worked on it! It felt like they went through some professional training.

Young Souro (Surya) in the movie with his parents!

Why did you decide to donate Rs.5 lakh for 10 budding chess players of West Bengal via HelpChess?

Regarding donating the money, they offered me some kind of appreciation honorian. We should not see this as fees. At some point I was thinking maybe I should not charge anything at all, and just do it for free. But then I realized that when I was in my childhood/early teenage, there are so many things that can be said but just to give you an example, there was one local MLA and he was giving me Rs. 500 per month. And even that had so much value in my life, just this 500 rupees amount. And if somebody would give me some sponsorship or Rs. 5000, we would be like "Oh wow!"I realized that there is one option not to take this at all, the other option was why not to distribute this. I know it's not going to make huge difference, but even if it makes slightest change, why not to do that. Atleast it has a meaning, then I know whatever amount I am getting atleast it is going towards a good cause, whatever nominal amount it is. Maybe some young player will be able to use it in a wise way.

Surya's parents in the movie!

Why HelpChess and why West Bengal? Because this movie is in Bangla and I grew up in West Bengal, so I wanted to focus there, that's the simple argument. The second one is why HelpChess, because I know that you guys are doing so many other things, you have expertise there and you know it better. For me, if you ask me how to select the 10 players, I would not even know how to identify these players. So I felt assured, knowing you for years, I felt very homely and comfortable so that's why I connected with you. Probably Sagar would be the reason in this case!

The Surya Ganguly Dabaru Scholarship will be fulfilled through HelpChess - the ChessBase India foundation!

What is your favourite part of the movie?

I think there are many personal touches, like the board that was used by my Grandfather in the movie is also the first prize that I got internationally, in Poland 1991 when I got the Bronze medal. The board was also part of the prize, and that has been used. There are many things in the movie which probably only I can relate, it is very very personal. Certain positions, certain emotions - like I remember there was one position which was shown on the board where my Coach is sort of throwing away the pieces, like behaving badly. This particular thing I remember - the exact position I played long time back maybe sometime in 1990/1991. I was publicly beaten so badly as soon as the game finished. These things others cannot connect, but in my memory it connects. These are some personal things, and from the audience point of view I really like the young boy who played the role. With him I can connect a lot, playing cricket, playing in a magnetic chess set and he's running with the chess set, hiding and then playing somewhere else. These things I really enjoyed a lot!

Reel and real - Surya's mom (right) with the actress who's playing her role in the movie!

How does it feel that a movie inspired by your life is coming out on 10th of May?

For me, the connection is mainly through my mother and Grandfather in this case. They had the biggest amount of contribution, so that's the main thing which I am excited about, and I'm curious about how others will enjoy it. From my personal point of view, as far as my chess career's ups and downs are concerned, it takes two clicks - anyone can see it in google. This is nothing spectacular, nothing to feel excited about, so this part does not excite me. A movie coming in my name, this also doesn't have the kick or the excitement because let's say being in limelight was not something rare for me in my career. Because when I started playing Chess, there was always some sort of media attention. It doesn't bring any extra cravings or excitement. But the other part, getting back to my mother and Grandfather, this is very emotional and this one I can relate a lot. There are certain fictions which I cannot relate to in the movie, but as a whole I enjoyed it.

The director of the movie, Pathikrit Basu with kid who played the role of Surya in the movie!

Who are the people you would like to thank for this movie coming out?

Windows Production definitely. They are one of the biggest production houses in West Bengal. Shibaprasad and Nandita, thanks to them! Actually it's very very challenging I would say to even think that you will make a movie on chess. I mean, they could pick any other sportsperson, there are so many - I am not the only one who had seen some struggle in childhood. This is India, every other sportsperson goes through this, it is so normal. They could just pick anyone, but yet they chose chess. Also the director Pathikrit Basu, I have to appreciate him.


How do you show climax in a chess movie? It is so difficult. In Football, Hockey, Badminton, you can show the climax in so many different ways and fans will be able to relate. Here, how do you make the audience understand that this is the critical position, that tensions are building. We cannot even add your commentary there, how do you do this then? From the directors point of view, it is also very challenging. But they did it in a very nice way, also adding the philosophy of life and everything. I was there for 2/3 days at the shooting, I saw how dedicated these people are, ensuring that everything is technically correct!

Dabaru | Official Trailer | Pathikrit| Nandita| Shiboprosad| Rituparna| Chiranjit| Dipankar| Windows

Fill out the application form for the Surya Ganguly Dabaru Scholarship


Contact Us