Hyderabad: Playing a sport is not always about winning. Sometimes it’s simply about learning and so is life. In a cricket crazy country like India, where sponsorship is not a major worry, Andhra Pradesh’s upcoming chess prodigy Pratyusha Bodda, is embarking the lessons of life with sights of becoming the next big thing in the world of chess. Pratyusha was crowned the Woman International Master and in so became only the fourth girl — after Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli and Lakshmi Sahithi — from the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to achieve this feat.
“I am really glad to have achieved this feat. It has been a journey filled with a lot of sacrifices and hard work. I have been staying at the Ramaraju Chess Academy for the last few years and go back home only for 10 days each month,” the girl from Tuni, East Godavari district said. “Earlier, when I used to stay at the academy I used to miss home. But now when I go back home I miss chess,” she added.
Just like Vladimir Kramnik, Russian Grandmaster, said, “Chess is like body-building. If you train every day, you stay in top shape. It is the same with your brain — chess is a matter of daily training.”
And for training one needs money and proper facilities to compete with top players from across the world. And funds are a major concern for the 2013 Asian Youth Chess U-18 gold medal winner.
“I have not received any financial support from the state or the centre. Chess is an expensive sport as we need to travel on a regular basis to train and get a chance to compete against the best players from the world,” the 18-year-old said.
“For now, my father bears all the expenses, but it will not be an option in the long run. I wish, I could find sponsors soon or hope that the government supports me financially,” she added.
Since, chess is first played in the mind and then on the board, the stress level is quite high and a player needs to de-stress himself/herself on a regular basis. “I practice yoga and meditation every day. After working (she calls it a work and not practice cause it is her profession) for six to eight hours a day I, meditate and practice yoga for half-an-hour each. I also watch television and listen to songs... it helps a lot,” the gold medal winner at the U-16 Commonwealth chess event said.
On being asked what’s next in store for her, she said, “The World Junior Championship will be held in November in Russia and I want to win it. Apart from that I have also want to become a Woman Grandmaster as early as possible.”