Agartala: Arshiya Das, 8, is all set to script history as she will represent India in the Asian School Chess Championship being held in Uzbekistan from Wednesday.
Speaking with EastMojo before leaving the state, the chess prodigy said she was confident of winning a gold medal for India at the tournament. “I will give my best and play well to win the gold medal for my country and make everyone proud,” she said.
A student of class-III in Holy Cross School in Agartala, Arshiya holds the top position in the country’s championship (U-9 chess category). She also said that she had started playing chess when she was five years old and has won a series of tournaments across the country over the past few years.
Arshiya said that she wanted to become a woman Grand Master and grow up to someone like Viswanathan Anand in the future.
Arshiya’s mother, Arnisha Nath Das, said that while visiting a mall, when she was five years old, she saw a chess board and asked me to buy it for her. “That was the humble beginning. Following this, she has never stopped. The following year, when she was just six, she played her first national championship,” she said.
Her father, Purnendu Das, an officer in the state-run BSNL, said, “We never knew that she would do that good. But when she started playing, it became very difficult for us to get funding for her competitions. Till date, over Rs 40 lakh has been spent on her travel, stay, entry fees and other expenses. We have met chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb to help her in providing financial assistance so that she can continue with the game.”
Earlier in 2018, Arshiya missed the World Championship in Spain and got the 13th position. She played at Asian Chess Championship in Thailand in 2018 and at the World Chess Championship in Spain last year. She has also won several state championships like the Telegraph Championship, Northeast Championships, etc, in the past.
Arshiya’s coach Prasenjit Dutta, a FIDE master, said that Arshiya became the first chess player from the state of Tripura to participate in a performing-rated chess tournament at Agartala at the age of five years and is performing brilliantly. She also achieved the ‘youngest player’ title in the tournament.
Arshiya had qualified for the Asian Youth Chess Championship-2018 in Thailand and the World Chess Championship-2018 at Spain after winning a bronze medal in the 31st national Under-7 open and girls’ chess championship in 2017 at Vijayawada.
Recently, she got a gold medal in National School Championship-2019 at Raipur and qualified for the Asian School Chess Championship-2019 at Tashkent, Uzbekistan starting from June 19 to 29, 2019.
“We are very confident of Arshiya clinching her first international medal in Uzbekistan this year,” her father added.
Meanwhile, following CM Deb’s intervention, the ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited (OTPC) has decided to make Arshiya as the company’s ‘brand ambassador’.
As per a communique issued by the CMO, Tripura, the OTPC agreed to meet all expenditures of Arshiya under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme and has already disbursed Rs 12 lakh to the sports directorate of Tripura in this connection. The state government will soon hand over the amount to Arshiya’s family, it added.