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Apeejay student wins second prize in district-level chess championship

“My mother was the happiest when I won the prize,” the student said



Avni Sarda, class VII, Apeejay Noida, has made her school proud by winning the second prize in the Gautam Budh Nagar District Chess Championship 2023, in the under-13 girls’ category. More than 300 girls and boys of different age groups from about 20 schools participated in the tournament.

Avni beat fellow chess players in four rounds of stiff competition to bag the prize. “I won three matches while the fourth was a draw,” the Apeejayite said, who started formal training in chess only six months back. “I was quite nervous about participating in a district tournament. But I gained confidence once I won the first match.”

Avni hails from a family of passionate chess players. It was her maternal grandfather who introduced her to the game and encouraged her to learn it. But chess is not merely a game for the young champion. She believes it also teaches about equality. “In chess, it does not matter if you are black or white; as long as you know the tactics you have an equal chance to win. On the other hand, while the king takes small steps on a chessboard, a queen can independently go wherever she wants,” she remarked.

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Chess has also helped improve Avni’s concentration levels and focus, she added. “It is a logical game, so you need to focus while playing. It also improves critical thinking skills and the ability to strategise.”

Sharing tips for beginners, the class VII student said, “You need to practise three to six hours daily because it is not an easy game. If that’s not possible, then at least one hour a day is a must.” To have ample time to practice while managing school and other interests, she has reduced her screen time.

She also advised beginners to learn tricks from grandmasters and visualise games in their minds. “American chess grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura is my favourite and I love watching his games,” she said.

Avni, who has qualified for the state-level chess championship, is eagerly waiting for the forthcoming tournament round. “My mother was the happiest when I won the prize for the district-level championship. My father, my siblings, and even my teachers encourage me to continue learning and participating in competitions,” she shared.  

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.