Online chess poses new challenge for coaches

N. V. S. Rama Raju, the first coach of D. Harika, says coaches have to come up with different kinds of novelties to help players make the right moves.

Hyderabad-based chess coach, N. V. S. Rama Raju - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

With players getting used to online chess competitions, coaches are having to adapt, too. According to N. V. S. Rama Raju, first coach of GM Dronavalli Harika, it means coaches have to put in a lot more effort and come up with different kinds of novelties to help players make the right moves in double quick time.

“Compared to the classical format, online competition time is too short. Effectively, the player has to have a very good repertoire to play a tricky game and deviate from bookish moves,” explained 45-year-old Raju, who is into coaching for more than two decades now.

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What is the biggest challenge? “I look at this in a different way. If you train a group of 10 young players, only four of them will stay focussed and it is not easy for me to control the others online. And when it comes to higher level players like GMs Harika [and] Harsha Bharat Koti they come up with some problems and seek solutions. Then, I have to work a lot and suggest some moves,” Raju said.

‘Speed in thought process’

“Essentially, training across the board is far easier than online training because of [the] time factor. For this, the coaches have to be ready with all the details of the previous games of players against whom their trainees will be facing,” he pointed out.

“The major issue here is we have to keep changing the strategies unlike in a Classical format where you have a chance to predict some moves. In a way, this online training combines greater speed in thought process with the skills to outwit an opponent sometimes with an unorthodox approach, too. So, we have to be ready with depth and critical analysis of the moves of our players in previous games. With the players keen to finish off quickly, the coaches have to be equally good according to their strengths and weaknesses,” concludes Hyderabad-based Raju.

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