Visakhapatnam’s chess prodigy Sahithi Varshini has won the gold medal in the Asian Chess Championship-2018 in the seven-round rapid event of girls U-12 category. The medal is another addition to her esteemed tally of medals and trophies which she bagged all over the world in several competitions.
Chess is a game that requires natural acumen and some shrewd calculations to outplay the opponent. However, all this are no big deal for Visakhapatnam’s chess prodigy Sahithi Varshini.
The love of chess for ten-year-old Sahithi can be credited to her father’s love for the game. So it all began when Lokeswara Rao improved on his game after a match with his neighbour, who was the Andhra University Chess Champion. They both started playing and soon this HPCL employee was taking the game very seriously and even went on to win at many company tournaments. Having achieved that, Lokeswara Rao decided to transfer his passion for chess onto one of his two daughters and Sahithi, the younger one, stunned her father with her mastery over the moves of the chess pieces.
Sahithi started playing at an age of eight, which he shares is considered pretty late in chess. However, the duo didn’t give up. He made her take a break from school for the next six months so that she could focus all her energies exclusively on chess. Along with her, he too sacrificed his social life so as to coach his daughter. Speaking about the balance between being a good father or a good coach, he shares that as a father, he understands Sahithi in a much better way. Also, apart from knowing her strengths and weaknesses, he can also gauge her physical and mental statuses. All this hard work began reaping results as Sahithi started defeating her opponents one after another.
Sahithi’s Purple Patch
This little one idolises Bobby Fischer for his attacking mode of play and keeps watching his videos to learn new tactics. Sahithi announced her arrival by winning the National U9 Medal with just six months of exposure to chess. She then went on to bag medals at many state and national level competitions and emerged as India’s major hope in many international tournaments. Being the first Woman Candidate Master (WCM) from Visakhapatnam, this year, Sahithi defeated her opponents at the Asian Youth International and the Commonwealth Championships (Both in U10 category). She won gold in both these tournaments thereby making the nation beam with pride.
The Road Ahead
Walking in the footsteps of state’s Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli, this 10-year-old is growing from strength to strength. With great commitment and passion towards the game, she is busy scaling new heights, while the parents are striving really hard to meet the financial needs that come along with each tournament. It’s really sad that Chess doesn’t enjoy enough popularity in our country and wonder kids such as Sahithi find it hard to make it big due to financial hurdles. Only if the governments or Corporates come forth to provide financial support, India will find it much easier to mould its next Grandmaster.