Is it just MONEY?

By GilaChess - June 07, 2024

Someone on Facebook said that "MONEY" is the key reason why India excels in chess.


But I think more accurately it is access and opportunity to this "money". Maybe Gukesh is not the best example, even though both his parents are doctors. It was mentioned that finances were a bit challenging initially, with his father sacrificing time and work for his son. However, the financial struggles are definitely much more difficult for young chess players, especially those in more challenging financial situations (and there are many such cases). Gukesh of course did eventually get sponsorship and relief from financial struggles a few years ago.

Take the example of now grandmaster Pranav Venkatesh's journey to obtaining the coveted title (incidentally young Pranav did play the Penang Open and Malaysian Open both attractive "budget" tournament in this region)

There was financial struggles he faced and overcame. Pranav's family encountered significant financial challenges, which impacted his ability to pursue chess at the highest levels which may be why Pranav was relative late to become India's 76th GM..

At one point, Pranav did not have the means to buy a notebook for his chess studies and had to borrow and share one from his father. Additionally, his plane tickets for tournaments were sponsored by the Sadhana app, reflecting the financial support he received from various sources to achieve his goals.

Pranav's father, Venkatesh, worked tirelessly to support his son's chess aspirations despite their financial constraints. The ChessBase India platform and other sponsors like Microsense and Sadhana aapp also played crucial roles in providing financial aid and resources to help Pranav plane tickets and compete internationally​.

Besides that, Pranav had access to some of the best coaches for junior players in India, like FM FT K Visweswaran.

This highlights how important community support and sponsorship is, in nurturing young talents who may lack the financial means to achieve their dreams independently. It is this access to such support is what makes India different from most other countries.

What do you think?

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