Tripura’s 8-year-old Arshiya Das clinched the only gold medal for India at the Asian School Chess Championship in Uzbekistan this year. After bagging her first international gold, the chess prodigy said that her eyes are now set on the 2020 World Chess Championship to be held in Georgia.
Arshiya is the first member of her family to take up Chess, her father Purnendu Das is an employee with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and her mother Arnisha Nath Das is a homemaker.
“I never played chess as a serious sport. I and my wife both knew the basics of the game from general knowledge. There are a few sports stars in our extended family but no one who really plays the board game,” Purnendu told indianexpress.com.
The young chess player started her game after incidentally coming across a chess board in a shopping mall three years back. Her mother Arnisha Nath Das said, “We never had any major experience in chess. Arshiya stumbled upon a chess game on the computer when she was a little baby. Later, she saw a chess board in a shopping mall and developed a knack for the game. She started playing her first national championship at 6 years of age”.
Arshiya adds that she aspires to become the female grandmaster as Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand remains her inspiration.
Meanwhile, she has already earned her Candidate Master title and has 1800 rating points. She became the first chess player from Tripura to participate in a rated-chess tournament at Agartala at the age of five. She won a Bronze medal in the 31st National under-7 girls chess championship in 2017 at Vijayawada and is currently the under-9 chess champion in India after winning at the National School Championship, 2019 at Raipur.
However, Arshiya’s international debut at 2018 World Championship in Spain didn’t get much traction and she finished in the 13th position. She also contested in the Asian Chess Championship in Thailand last year without much success.
But the little child has made up for the loss in Asian School Chess Championship at Uzbekistan this year by winning a gold medal in blitz event, a Bronze medal in the standard event and securing the fourth rank in the rapid event. Arshiya also plans to contest in the Commonwealth Chess Championship at New Delhi next month.
The chess prodigy was trained by Prasenjit Dutta, Tripura’s own ace chess player who grew up to be a World Chess Federation (FIDE) master. Dutta, who is now based in Delhi, coordinates with Arshiya and other students here via online classes for nearly 2-3 hours every day. He also frequently visits Agartala, when Arshiya undergoes an exhausting training of seven hours daily.
Dutta said that Arshiya is a rare talent and has got potential to clinch international chess tournaments in future.