Monday, 20 February 2017

Chesspreneur : Not child's play


Chess has been part of my life for the past five years. And in these lovely five years journey, I have learnt that Chess is not just a sport. It taught me patience, speed, faster decision making and most of all balancing loss and win. Mr. Frederic Friedel (CEO of ChessBase) has once said, "When a student learns chess very early, he/she not only learns to think logically, and think ahead, but mainly to concentrate on one subject." So success in this sport cannot be counted in the number of trophies you earned. But I feel that this beautiful game has not earned as much recognition as it should have.

I was thinking about this for quite sometime. How could I spread the awareness? How could I get people interested in this game? How could I make people to get better? I wanted to introduce chess to more people, spread the joy and help people to explore their inner strength. It would be so much better! But how do you do this? Then I hit up on a brainwave. There was going to be a local neighborhood fair called Powai Fest on the weekend. On inquiring, we got to know that we could put up a stall. 

Image result for powai fest 2017 logo
 The Powai Fest,an event  organised by Rotary  is popular with voice of Powai, Fashion Fiesta,and other contests with musical nights and other enthralling programs.

 I named my stall Chaturanga(Sanskrit word for Chess). It was a stall meant for chess. You could pay Rs 50 and play a blitz game against me; if you win you would get prizes. But you could also go over to the second part of the stall containing products of ChessBase India. There was Fritz and Chesster: Learn to play Chess and ChessBase Account. They both were appropriate because there were many beginners in Powai who were interested in chess and some who wished to enhance their chess abilities. As it turned out, many people already liked chess; they just needed that one good game to be interested to learn it.

Right from the naming to the banner to the prizes to  advertisement, I just loved the experience. I was in touch with Chessbase  India officials for all the information and they were happily involved in this.
Under Constuction.

My stall Chaturanga, where you could play or buy!

Come one, come all!

Age means nothing in Chess!!
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What a feeling when getting a prize for tournament in your local neighborhood
My stall was visited by ChessBase India's founder IM  Sagar Shah, and Co founder Amruta Mokal

There were some incidents that were quite startling. Once a gentleman had come to play a game against me and lost. Then after sometime, determined to beat me, he played again and lost again. Right before I ended for that day, he walked over and played one final game. By then we had got to know each other a bit. He lost this game too. On the next day, surprisingly, he was waiting for me even before I had reached the stall! I must say, chess is just too addictive! We ended up playing twice more. For his determination and love for the game, I gave him a ChessBase account of three months.

 After a few customers, I already felt like a skilled entrepreneur, which was obviously not true; I had completely lost count of the number of games that I had played and I was immersed in explaining the products. Business was fun, although not child's play!
CM  Aditya Mittal, India's rising star player visited the shop.
What a great feeling when your chess buddy, Ketan Patil, travels miles, just to encourage you! Priceless!

My friends Kavya,Kavin  Aditya are always by my side.
I think that I can now safely come to the conclusion that my idea did work satisfactorily. Many of the people who had visited my stall had wanted to know exactly what Fritz and Chesster was. There were so many who would play chess against me just to learn how to play or that were re-kindling their spirit for chess which they played abundantly in their youth. There were some very good players who were playing to warm up and beginners determined to beat me.  It was amazing to see just how many were secretly interested in this lovely game. I had a great time interacting with people. There are few  things I could have improved upon like advertisement and more appealing audio visual.  I am sure I will soon learn that.

What fantastic two days of my life! As my all time favourite author R J Palacio says in her book 'Wonder',

"The best way to measure how you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average—though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success."

Keep playing!

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