Hi! I’m Akshat Chandra and this is my log of the journey to be a Chess Grandmaster. Like many of you, I love my sports – basketball, American football, baseball! For sometime I moved to India from US, and there I stumbled upon Chess. In India I got formally introduced to Chess, by chance. The game has become a close friendship since then. I enjoy the game’s challenges & find its infinite scope quite fascinating. To think that even the best player is the best amongst us, but can still improve further shows the game’s limitless potential. I’m working hard at understanding Chess.
Chess superstars like Vishy, Kasparov and Magnus motivate children around the globe to pursue Chess and become great at it. I’m just one of the “affected” ones Just like Michael Jordan was to me, when I was playing Basketball. These legends of the games show us the highest standard.
In 2010, I began with a FIDE rating of 1548. Since I started my chess journey playing tournaments in India, I was registered with the Indian Federation. In my first 2 years, I gained ~600 ELO points, very likely an Indian national record. In July 2012, I transferred my Federation to US. In Jan 2013 I received my FM title upon reaching rating of ELO 2300. I realize I’ve covered a long distance in a short time, and I’m thankful for my good fortune. But I’m still just as hungry to go all the way. In March 2013, I returned to US after an over 3-year trip to India. I returned just in time for my first official USCF tournament 3-weeks later – the SuperNationals V. It’s like the US Chess Olympics, held every 4 years. It’s a great, great tournament. I participated in the K-9 section, and what do you know, I’m the 2013 Supernationals US K-9 Champion!
Joe Namath, an American Football star, once said, “If you’re not gonna go all the way, then why go at all.” What great, true words.
We work hard at what we love to do. The hard work counts. Results follow. I keep Joe’s words in mind.
I’ve also been writing since a young age. Once, a story I sent to a Scholastic National contest ended up winning 2nd rank. Next thing I get called to a Scholastic book-signing ceremony. My first touch of fame! Writing classes at John Hopkins online program also helped. I decided to write about my Quest for I believe it’s important for me to keep a log of my journey – like Captain Kirk in Star Trek. When I arrive, it’s the journey that’ll fondly remind me of how interesting, hard and meaningful it was to get there. Perseverance leaves a long trail to write about. I don’t wish to forget the details. One thing about Chess is that it makes one travel widely, and often to places we may never think of going. My engagement with Chess is a period of discovery, both on-and-off the board.
Along the way, this blog may perhaps help other young chess enthusiasts who can relate to this and find themselves in similar situations. I’ve made many mistakes and learnt many hard lessons; but there are good moments and there are bad moments in Chess. Like Life’s Ups and Downs! Just reading about others can help players too; make them realize that they are not the only ones who lost a winning game A chess player always keeps trying to get better. That’s a chess enthusiast! No loss can beat us if we learn from it. I always keep that in mind.
I’m passionate about football too, and started an NFL Weekly with my picks for the 2012-13 season. But, it takes a lot of time and I kinda fell behind when I was playing chess tournaments. I guess I’ll have to find a better strategy for the next season – you know there is so much analysis in play-making and play-calling in football. I like to listen to the interesting names for different plays when they’re being called on the field, and try to decode them. That’s pretty cool to me.
Now let’s go fulfill our dreams !