Overcoming your fears and coming out strong
By GM R.R. Laxman
My father tutored and nurtured the passion for chess in me. I owe much of my happiness and excitement in life to chess. It all started with my first place at the National under 12 at Calicut in 1993. I was treated like a celebrity at school. My passion for chess was kindled at a tender age because of this.
The unconditional passion for chess grew day by day coupled with the support and encouragement from my parents who monitored my progress in chess periodically. Despite scoring 1120 /1200 in the board exams in the 12th examination I decided to pursue chess as a full time career.
Hence, I joined Bsc and M.A course in college which were relatively lighter than engineering or medicine. And thus my chess journey continued. I cherished pleasant memories of being trained in my school days by Shri Madheshwaran Sridharan (brother of IM Balasubramanium) and also had incessant training sessions with Shri Shantharam Natrajan.
Between the years 2000 to 2002 my performance in chess stagnated badly to the extent that I began to regret my decision to pursue chess seriously. I always gave too much respect to my higher rated opponents and this induced fear while playing them. If a player recently made some outstanding achievement I always began to dread playing him, as I felt inferior to him.
My friend C.J. Arvind noticed this at the right moment and strictly advised me to start playing internet chess with IMs and GMs to remove the sense of fear. He knew that people in ICC and Playchess.com were only interested in playing blitz and nothing else. And since I was good at blitz Arvind was sure that I would slowly start beating them. This really happened as you know. Within a period of just 2 years after playing internet blitz with GMs and IMs almost everyday I was already a well established IM with a rating of 2424.
Between the years 2007 to 2009 I was a prolific winner of several open rated events in India. I was recruited under sports quota at Integral Coach Factory (ICF). Under the able guidance of Sri T.J. Suresh Kumar along with the support and encouragement given to me by ICF sports association I had the opportunity to make some mark and identity in chess. I achieved my GM title at the age of 26 years.
I thank the All India chess federation especially Shri Sundar sir and the late Shri Murali Mohan for their continued tireless efforts for developing chess players like me both in Tamil Nadu and all over the country. I cherish pleasant memories of playing weekend tournaments in Indian red cross society at Egmore organised by late Sri Murali Mohan.
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