Telangana's first GM Arjun retains winning touch during lockdown

Arjun Erigaisi, Telengana's first Grandmaster, is chasing his ultimate dream to be a world champion, while learning from the best.

Published : Jun 01, 2020 17:24 IST

GM E. Arjun training at home in Hanamkonda of Telangana.

Telangana’s first Grandmaster in chess, Arjun Erigaisi, takes pride in ensuring that he retained the winning touch during the lockdown by clinching honours in a couple of online tournaments including one held by Azerbaijan during this phase. 

“Honestly, the lockdown doesn’t make much of a difference to me. I love working on my game the whole day and that’s what I have been doing right through the lockdown and also competing in online tournaments,” says 16-year-old Arjun, in a chat with Sportstar on Monday, from his home in Hanamkond, Warangal.

With parents - Dr. E. Srinivas Rao (neurosurgeon) and mother E. Jyothi (housewife)- lending all the support, the 2015 Asian Youth silver medallist is chasing his ultimate dream to be a world champion. 
“Nothing is impossible in this world. All that you need is to put in the desired effort, work really hard and try to be consistent over a longer period,” says the confident young chess prodigy, who is inspired by former world champion Garry Kasparov’s genius.

According to Arjun, 2018 was a dream year as he completed six norms - three to get IM title and another three to get the coveted GM title- while acknowledging the support of his first coaches B. Sampath, A. Sudarshan and N.V.S. Ramaraju.    “Yes, it is nice to be called the first GM from the newly-formed State. But, that is the past. I have to keep dreaming big and complement that with the efforts that separate the ordinary from the champions,” says the articulate 11th standard student of Shine School in his hometown.

“Right now, I am being trained by Russian GM Viktor Mikhalevski. Well, the focus will be all-round improvement for sure though I feel comfortable with my middle-game always,” he says.    “Definitely, it will be interesting to see how the post-Covid-19 scenario looks after so many events were cancelled. There can be the fear element as far as travelling is concerned,” feels the gifted chess prodigy. “But, I am very keen to be back there in the tournament hall and enjoy the game better,” says Arjun.   For someone who started chess as a hobby, he went on to make his first big impact when he won the State under-11 title in the then united Andhra Pradesh. Clearly, Arjun is now a force to reckon with while quietly making big strides.