I started with Jaswantlal Jiwanlal Charitable Trust(JJCT) Ahmedabad , India, an organization that dedicates itself in the service of specially abled people. I wanted to conduct a chess workshop for the specially abled in JJCT with an aim to instill a sense of confidence and bring them a step nearer to the mainstream.
My preparations for this workshop started months ago . I started on-line chess tutoring for the teachers/ caretakers of this organization . After this , the teachers and I then started training the specially abled kids . Initially the teachers were apprehensive – but as days went by, they saw the kids eagerly looking forward to these tutoring sessions, their eyes sparkled and the game instilled in them a sense of participation. The response was overwhelming and we conducted games and chose the finalists . I along with my parents flew to Ahmedabad and went to JJCT. The stage was set and the eager participants were waiting. I conducted a session focusing on tactics and tips and tricks for winning a game.
The students were delighted to see me in person and were ready for the finale – the finals of the chess tournament. 16 players played their games and winners were declared .
With the newly acquired knowledge, the students did phenomenally well and played the matches, surpassing all expectations. The glint in their eyes and their body language spoke volumes about their confidence. An entirely new scenario was unfolding and they craved for more games to be played.
“When we started to teach the game, most of them could not play. However, wiithin 10 days, 70% of the children were interested and their conceptual processes showed improvement:
“We are grateful for Dhruti who brought this appreciative change in our children. We look forward to more such sessions. ” was the opinion of office bearers who took great pains along with me on this noble endeavor.
Through Knightingales chess academy , I donated chess sets to the school and declared June 6th – as a Chess day every year so that they can all play and practice for it!
” I always imagined that chess is just a game and played only by very few people. ..I never thought that it is such an interesting game and demands your complete attention. Now I am beginning to love the game, “ said Ganguly, who did very well in the training session and eventually won the mini chess tournament. The other boys and girls agreed with him and now they all hooked onto the game and were keen on gaining a chess edge over others. That was the magic spell cast on students.
I came to know of this centre after collaborating with research on Child Labour with Mrs. Pragna (Head of School). I started interacting with Mrs. Pragna, the caretaker in the Ashrama and planned for a camp. The date was fixed to June 10th and children were ready for the camp at their earliest. About twenty of them were primed about the camp and the session began. The interest evinced by these tiny tots was very nice.
The students proved to be brilliant and grasped the essence of the game quickly. Their response and the intense love they showered upon the tutor was very touching. Kubera, the youngest of the team, lovingly asked me in Kannada (local language) – ” Akka, tirugi yaavaaga barteeya??- when will you be back…??” . Every one present there was touched by this pure love and of-course I assured them that I would be back next year to make this an annual event.
Overall, the chess tour definitely instilled the love of chess for about 200+ kids, but also brought in humility and a feeling of gratitude . I am back in the United States, vouching that I will do these camps as frequently as I can and get to reach students in even the most remote places of the world and encourage them to love chess. Who knows – one among these above kids might become the youngest Grandmaster!