'I want to become an IM soon'

MANUEL AARON

BORN on August 17, 1989 at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Gogineni Rohit, who comes from a rural background (his father is an agriculturist), has won four important chess titles in recent months. He first won the National Under-14 title in Chennai in May and then the Immortal Five FIDE-rated tournament at Vijayawada in June where 76 FIDE-rated players took part. Next he won the National sub-junior championship in Hyderabad and now the fourth board prize at the World Youth Chess Olympiad in Kuala Lumpur.

-MANUEL AARON

In all of these events, and also in this year's National 'B', he remained undefeated. But it was rather unfortunate for him in the first round of the World Under-14 championship at Iraklio, Greece, where he won the silver medal. He was paired with a little-known Indian, Namra Pandya. Rohit completely forgot the clock and lost the game on time. Namra's final score was only three points from 11 games while Rohit recovered from that first round defeat to win the silver medal. Rohit has shown a lot of character and, hopefully, should soon become an International Master. Rohit spoke to The Sportstar after the World Youth Chess Olympiad.

Excerpts:

Question: How did you get introduced to the game?

Answer: I was taught the moves when I went to Gudavalli, my native village, by a neighbour who works in the State Bank of India. Ch. Satyanarayana of Guntur was my coach during my early days.

Where do you study and what kind of help does your school provide?

I am in the ninth standard at Vigyan High School, Hyderabad. The school arranges special tuitions for me when I miss classes. They are quite cooperative.

Do you have any sponsor and how much do they spend on you?

Yes. I am under the sponsorship of Hero Honda since 2001 and they provide me with Rs. 4 lakhs a year.

Does any of your family members accompany you to tournaments?

During the first year, my mother accompanied me. Now it is my father.

What are your achievements till date in the National and International tournaments?

I have won the National Under-14 and National Under-15 this year. I took the fourth board prize at the World Youth Chess Olympiad at Kuala Lumpur. I also won the Immortal Five FIDE-rated tournament held at Vijayawada in memory of the five chess-playing children who died last year in an accident. That tournament was quite strong as there were 270 players of whom 76 were FIDE-rated.

Who have been your coaches and how much time do you spend daily on chess?

I have been coached by the senior players of Guntur and Vijayawada such as J. Ramakrishna and K. N. Gopal and by T. Sithapathy of Tenali. For one year, from 2001 to 2002, IM Raja Ravi Sekhar coached me. IM D. V. Prasad has also helped me. For expertise in openings, I seek the help of Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay and for middle-game I get the guidance from GM Dibyendu Barua. I work on chess for about six to 10 hours in a day. I work with Kesavanda Krishna who is with me everyday. He had represented India at the 1989 World Youth Chess Festival at Puerto Rico.

Do you have any idols in the game? Like Kasparov, Anand, Karpov, etc.?

I like Kramnik and Anand. I like those who play attacking chess.

What cash award will you get from the Andhra Pradesh Government for your performance at Iraklio?

I think that I will get Rs. 1.20 lakhs. Harikrishna will get Rs. 2 lakhs and Harika Rs. Eighty thousand.

Will Kesavanda get any award as your coach, from the AP government?

There is a talk of honouring coaches with cash awards, but it has not yet been finalised.

Have you attended any coaching camps organised by the AICF or the AP Government?

Yes, I have attended the camp by Vladimirov, organised by the AICF at Calicut and the camp by Lyssenko, at Eluru. Both the camps have been very useful.

Finally, what is your ambition in chess?

I want to become an International Master soon.