The mere sight of chesspieces and how they move on the board first got him hooked to the sport. He would stand beside his grandfather and closely watch him play the game. That was around 10 years ago. Today, VR is one of the most promising young chess players from the state. He recalls, "It was my grandfather who first taught me chess when I was only eight-and-half-years old. So, a big credit goes to him for whatever I've achieved so far. From then on, a lot of them, including my family, and former and current coaches have been my motivational factors," he says.
Now, Aravindh, who turned a Grandmaster (GM) a few years ago, is back in the city after clinching bronze at the World Junior Chess Championship in Travisio, Italy. He's clearly elated about it as he says, "Though I lost my first game, I didn't allow pressure to mount on me." Soon after he won the medal, Viswanathan Anand, who himself had won gold at the World Junior Championship way back in 1987, promptly tweeted, congratulating the youngster for his latest achievement. "He's my idol. Any day, it feels great to hear a word of appreciation from a player like him. It is still fresh in my mind how he congratulated me on the sidelines of Gibraltar tournament a few years ago. I played a fine game against a 2500+ opponent and Anand came up to me and said, 'Kalakita'," recalls Aravindh.
Aravindh, who was born and brought up in Madurai, moved to Chennai a few years ago for better exposure to the sport. "My coach, RB Ramesh, is in Chennai. Chennai already has a big chess legacy — it produced India's first IM and GM.