Mysuru: K S Raghunandan, the 16-year-old International Master from Bengaluru who received highest cash award of Rs 35 lakh from sports minister Pramodh Madwaraj for his outstanding performance in chess during 2013-14 and 2014-15 had got into chess because of his sheer attraction towards chess pans (pieces), especially the horse (Knight).
His father Sripad says that the naughtiness of the seven-year-old Raghunandan was such that his mother had handed him over with a small wooden chess set to divert his attention.
"That was probably the start of making of an international master. He got so fascinated that gradually those beautiful pieces became an integral and inseparable part of his life," recalls Sripad.
His mother Shashikala who is working in HAL as an officer taught the basics of chess and Raghunandan who got fascinated with the game and used to pester everyone in the house to play with him.
Speaking to Newskarnataka, Sripad said “As everyone was employed none of us could give much time to him. We then observed that he has immense potential when he used defeat neighbour's and playmates. Soon I bought him a software chess edition. Gradually his moves became sharper. Then we started finding details about chess coaches and found the contact number of Hanumantha Rajanna, who was Secretary of United Karnataka Chess Association," says Sripad adding that Raghunandan's achievement makes him feel great.
Sripad says that the next target is to become Grand Master in next two years and that encouragement by the state government has only served as an incentive to work harder.
"I want to thank Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Sports Minister Pramod Madhwaraj and DYES Director Anupam Agarwal," he said. He is not only good in chess but proved equally good in academic as he secured 94 percent in SSLC by concentrating for just two months. He is now pursuing I PU (PCMC) at KLE PU College in Bengaluru.
After receiving the award speaking to Newskarnataka Raghunandan said “It’s really great feeling. The boost from the government has given me the spirit to work harder. Hope with this sort of encouragement sports will further improve in our state," he said.
In 2013, Raghunandan won Asian Youth title, stood second in World Youth (U-12), won U-12 Asian Schools Champion. In days to come he will be taking part in various tournament including Abu Dhabi, Germany, Russia and Spain.