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A little piece of Russian chess in Mumbai

by Praful Zaveri - 22/03/2017

Jacob Aagaard will be in India on the 25th of March and he will begin his lectures and interactive sessions from Mumbai. When the famous organizer Praful Zaveri was approached to set up the two day sessions, he tried to think about a way in which he could make it grand. And for that he needed a special venue! After quite a lot of efforts he was able to secure a unique place filled with chess culture and history to the brim! And after a gap of 17 years, chess activities will resume at that place with the much awaited Aagaard lectures!

If Gods allow me to master time with a machine just once, I would seek to accelerate back 17-years into the past for that wonderful period I had at the Cultural Centre of Russia! Situated in the heart of city at Pedder Road (now, Dr.G. Deshmukh Marg), the Russian Centre for Science and Culture (RCSC) can be counted as one of the place (besides the majestic, Zandu Canteen) which helped in promoting chess across the city of Mumbai.

The Russian centre for Science and Culture (RCSC)

Boasting of a chess hall with unparalleled infrastructure, the rich treasure of Russian chess books and magazines, rare Zagreb chessmen and wooden chess boards, Cultural Centre of Russia was one place where every chess player aspired to play one day. One can definitely say that RCSC was a little piece of Russian Chess in Mumbai!


My regular playing stint here paved the way for training activities in the year 1996 where RCSC offered its place to work with aspiring young students. This training opportunity was received very well by the chess fraternity in this part of the city and it quickly witnessed being patronised by a good number of young kids. The work continued to flourish for a period of 4-years. However, due to my office duty (as that time I was working with Life Insurance Corporation of India), I had to close down this activity. Which I still regret.


However, Goddess Caissa gave me another opportunity after 17-years when the doors of RCSC have been opened for me (and chess!) once again!


In the early February this year, IM Sagar Shah informed me that renowned author, GM Jacob Aagard would be coming for a tour of India to train promising kids and Mumbai would be the starting point of his 20 day trip. He asked me whether Indian Chess School (ICS) would like to hold this camp. Without a moment’s hesitation I said ‘Yes’ and initiated my search for a place, which would not only be convenient for all but also has a bit of chess culture. Of course, the head office of ICS at Don Bosco School was the preferred choice but still I decided to give it a try and the first name that automatically cropped us was RCSC!


To be very honest, pessimism prevailed in view of the fact that things had changed a lot in this part of the city with real estate prices sky-rocketing to unprecedented level and whether chess would still be in scheme of things for the management. However, the doubts were laid to rest immediately as I was welcomed back and given an opportunity by the chess loving management and Director of RCSC!


And, we are now going to recommence our chess training activities at RCSC from April 2017 and this would be preceded by GM Jacob Aagard’s training camp on 26th-27th of March 2017.

GM Jacob Aagaard (left) is a renowned trainer and author and has worked with legendary players like Boris Gelfand

What are the activities at the Aagaard camp?

Morning session on 26 and 27 March: The morning session will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will include a batch of 20 top students. It will be a training session with Jacob Aagaard where the grandmaster will not only be covering some important topics related to decision making in chess but also look into the games of the students.

All the details about the camp

You can find the prospectus of the camp below. A good number of seats (from the max available 20) have already been filled in and for those aspiring should immediately contact the author by mail ( or call: + 91 – 9820 547 548.


As Aagard’s camp is restricted to around 20 players, a ‘Key-Note’ address has been scheduled on 26th March 2017 at 06.30 p.m. in the auditorium of RSCS so that all chess players get an opportunity to see the great trainer in action and also interact with him. This session is free of cost and I would recommend all the players of Mumbai to turn up in huge numbers.

The auditorium of RCSC is huge, but so is the chess community of Mumbai!
The topic for the open session on 26th evening is "The Psychology and methods of Chess Improvement". Where there is a will there is a way, right? Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard disputes this notion, talks about how we should orient our life towards excellence in chess – and in everything else.

We have also planned a parallel rapid tournament for kids from 24th to 26th March, 2017 in association with Mumbai City District Chess Association (MCDCA). On-line registration for this event is can be done on the website of ICS.


Download the full circular with all the information about the tournament and Aagaard lectures


This is going to be a wonderful start of activities at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture. Let us all be a part of it!

Save the address in your google maps!
For more details of Jacob Aagaard's trip in India and Asia:

About the author

FI Praful Zaveri is the founder of Indian Chess School Academy. He is a popular trainer in Mumbai and also the author of the critically acclaimed Chess Course book for beginners. His vision is to build the chess culture in his hometown Mumbai as well as India and help the country produce many more grandmasters in future. For this he has been the organizer of some huge projects like the IIFLW tournament, regular high class events, training sessions and now the Aagaard camp!

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