Murali Karthikeyan and G. K. Monnisha lifted the boys’ and girls’ titles respectively in the National sub-junior (under-15) chess in Kolkata recently. By Amitabha Das Sharma.

The rich tradition of chess that gives Tamil Nadu the prominence of place in the country yielded a fresh exposition of talent as Murali Karthikeyan and G. K. Monnisha lifted the boys’ and girls’ titles respectively in the National sub-junior (under-15) chess in Kolkata recently.

Karthikeyan, who had already earned an International Master title and also won the under-12 world chess crown, was the one of the favourites to win the boys’ title. The second-seeded player warded off a challenge from the top-seed Diptayan Ghosh of Bengal, another hot contender for the title, in the tie-breaker. The two players remained tied on top with nine points each after the completion of 11 rounds before Karthikeyan was awarded the title on the Buchholz tie-break calculation.

Karthikeyan, a big fan of World champion Viswanathan Anand, loves to achieve things fast. He is an IM and wants become a GM very soon, much like his idol. “I like to play like Viswanathan Anand. He is India’s greatest chess player and I would like to become a GM like him,” said Karthikeyan adoring the glittering trophy he had earned as a result of this victory. “I won the under-12 world title a couple of years ago and that has given me the confidence to play well,” said the new sub-junior champion, who attributed his success to coach M. A. Velayudham of Bloom Chess Academy in Chennai.

Karthikeyan has gained one GM norm and is eager to complete the title by playing in more international open events. “I wish I have some good sponsors who will fund my trips abroad. I have played some good tournaments and I am confident of doing well there,” said Karthikeyan, who has earned a name as one of the fastest gainers of ELO points.

G. K. Monnisha, 14, proved her class on the National stage once again, picking up her fifth age-group title in the process. “I have won the under-13 title twice and the under-9 and under-17 crowns once each before,” she said. To add to these National titles are the Asian under-12 and under-14 golds that make her collection even more enviable.

“I was a bit shaky initially but got back into my usual rhythm midway through the tournament. I like the attacking style and that helped me get some good wins in the later stages,” said Monnisha, an avid follower of former World champion Garry Kasparov’s games. Monnisha overtook the pre-tournament favourite and the top-seed M. Mahalakshmi in the later stages and held on to the advantage till the end. “I would like to become a GM and am working towards that goal,” said the trainee of GM R. B. Ramesh.

Monnisha, who is a Woman FIDE Master, said she was keen to gain more points playing open tournaments and is preparing herself for that. The young player is very focussed about her objective and wishes to take women’s chess in the country forward.