G.A. Stany: Becoming a Grandmaster an achievement for a life time

Karnataka's G.A. Stany became India's eighth Grandmaster in 2018 by winning the National chess Championship in Jammu.

Focusing on fitness has helped Stany in long drawn matches.   -  V. GANESAN

In 2018, India has had eight new Grandmasters (GM), the most in any calendar year. The latest in that wave is Karnataka’s G.A. Stany, who earned the coveted norm at the recently concluded National Chess Championship in Jammu.

“Becoming a Grandmaster is an achievement for a life time,” Stany told Sportstar here on Thursday on his arrival from Jammu. “For me, personally, it’s both happiness and great relief.”

“I had crossed the 2500 rating almost two years ago. Most people struggle to get to 2500. But for me norms were becoming difficult. I used to miss them on technicalities, by half a point, one point. But I am glad that I could manage the final two norms in just three months.”

In a way the past two years have really made Stany. Apart from the hiccups on the chess front, in late 2017 he lost his father, whose biggest desire was to see his son become a GM.

“It was a very emotional and difficult moment for me,” the 25-year-old recalled. “I couldn't bear the fact that I couldn’t become a GM when he was alive and it still bothers me. But such is life. You can't fulfil all your wishes.”

G. A. Stany (right) shocked joint overnight leader Anurag Mhamal to be among the four leaders after eight rounds of National chess championship in Jammu.   -  RAKESH RAO

The setback gave him that extra drive to excel, he said. “It was already late and I didn’t want it to take longer. I focussed a lot on fitness. I lost like 10 kgs this year. Being fit helps in long drawn matches. Most of my games in the last few tournaments were decided in the fifth hour. So it really mattered.”

Central to his success has been his coach, International Master Saravanan from Chennai. “He has been phenomenal. When I first went to him in 2015, my rating was quite low (2375) and I was not consistent. We started to work on my basics which had a lot of loopholes. He is passionate about books and chess history. So I got interested and started studying more classical games.”

Read: Stany stops Mhamal at National Chess Championship

However, from the time he started training under his first coach Srikrishna Udupa in his hometown Shivamogga, to now, the single biggest source of support has been his mother Lizy.

“She has been unbelievable. When young, my sir used to give chess notes and my mother used to read it out so that I could move it on the board. This used to happen throughout the night. Now her role is equally important. She gives me emotional support. I share everything with her.”

The next target for Stany is to crack the Elo rating of 2600, which is easier said than done, for, it requires greater focus and increased resources.

“There is a misconception that chess not an expensive sport. But one tournament in Europe costs close to 2 lakhs. To give some perspective, I didn’t win any money in my first ten foreign tournaments. The Airports Authority of India, our State association and other sponsors have all helped me and I am thankful.”

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