All set for the next move

Girish Koushik and G A Stany showed their mettle at the Asian Youth meet

Young star :  Karnataka’s G A Stany excelled at the Asian Youth Chess meet recently. Stany picked up silver in the under-18 category.In their brief careers so far, the teenagers, however, have shown plenty of promise and their recent exploits at the Asian Youth Championship affirmed the belief that the two are bright prospects for the future.

The Karnataka players have been a force to reckon with in age-group categories, coming up with some glittering performances in the last few years. Girish, who had done well previously on the international circuit, once again proved his class by picking up the under-14 gold at Subic City, Philippines while Stany picked up the silver in the under-18 category.

“There were some tough matches. But real battle was off the board as I could reach the city only an hour before the competition due to delay in flight. To make things difficult, there was hardly any vegetarian food. Winning gold after all these struggles have given me immense satisfaction,” said Girish, who tallied 7.5 points out of a possible nine to emerge champion.

Stany’s silver in the under-18 category was a testimony to the Shimoga lad’s never-say-die-attitude. “I was leading for most part of the tournament. I lost to Debashis Das in the fourth round and after that I kept my composure to level with him at seven points.

But Das was declared the winner on the basis of better head-to-head record,” said Stany.

“I am not at all disappointed as it is my first international medal and for me it was a great experience.”

For the record, Girish had won the World under-10 title in his breakthrough year in 2006. The Mysorean also has in his kitty the Asian under-14, U-12 and U-8 crowns besides the National U-11 and U-9 titles. Girish is also the under-14 Commonwealth champion. “World under-10 title was the biggest victory in my career since it was a very tough competition.

That helped me to become mentally tough,” said Girish.

Girish learned the basics of chess at the tender age of four from his father and coach Arun Koushik, who dreamt of making his child a champion. “I am an ardent fan of chess, so I wanted to make my son a great player. I even quit my business to look after Girish’s career. He has fulfilled part of my dreams but he still has a long way to go,” said Arun.
The busy schedule hasn’t had a negative impact on Girish’s studies. Instead, he puts in that extra effort to make sure sport and studies get along nicely. “My school (St Thomas, Mysore) and teachers are very helpful. My parents, especially my mother (Lakshmi Arun), make sure I don’t lag behind in studies. But my major worry is getting a sponsor as the expenses are increasing rapidly with every meet,” Girish.

Girish, who idolises Garry Kasparov for the Russian’s strategies, speed and attitude, is aiming to cross the 2400 FIDE-rating to claim his first International Master norm. “Now I have 2288 points and with 12 points added for my victory at the Asian meet I will reach the 2300 mark. But my aim is to become the World champion,” said the 14-year-old who will compete in the Commonwealth championship in South Africa next month before moving to Chennai for the World Junior Championships.

International Master Stany’s achievements include the National under-17 title and an IM norm which he bagged during last year’s National ‘A’ meet in Delhi. “My aim is to become a Grandmaster as soon as possible. Perhaps, by the end of the year I might reach that goal,” said Stany, who has 2407 FIDE-rating points.

Stany picked up chess after watching his uncle George and brother Tony L A playing the game and as an eight year-old he enrolled into Srikrishna Udupa’s chess coaching classes in Shimoga. With support from his father Anthony G P, a pharmacist at the Government Hospital in Shimoga, and mother Lisy A, a teacher at the Government School in Shimoga, Stany made his mark at various age-group categories in Karnataka and across the country before pocketing his maiden international medal last week.

Stany is hoping to cash in on his recent success. “I hope the silver medal would bring more success in future,” Stany signed off.

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