By Rob Kelly
Chess is a game of strategy and logic.
For centuries, it has been played and enjoyed by millions of people around the world, but there are few people in the 21st Century that play the ancient game as well Berwick Lodge Primary School’s vice school captain.
His name is Ashwin and he has participated in dozens of chess competitions around Victoria (and Australia) and won numerous medals and trophies to prove it. Ashwin started playing Chess in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since.
“I started to play chess after watching my brother and mum play,” Ashwin said.
“I become interested in it and I picked it up fast. My mum saw talent in me and encouraged me to play more and more.
“After attending chess coaching sessions, I was ready to play in tournaments.”
Ashwin’s older brother attended the tournaments with him and observed his game strategy.
As Ashwin made mistakes on the board, his brother was able to assist him and coach him after the game.
“After lots of tournaments, I realised the game was helping me in my daily life. I could solve problems faster – and in more creative ways than I could before.”
It was while playing a game at Hampton Park Primary School in 2016 that Ashwin learnt something about himself that he had never realised before…
“I was playing terribly. I was losing to people who had just started playing the game. It was painful. I got frustrated and angry with myself.
“After the tournament finished, I said I was going to quit chess forever! My mum became troubled since she knew I had a great future in the game and she tried to persuade me to keep playing.
“Luckily, she did! Mum helped me realise that it’s not about winning or loosing the game, it’s about winning or learning the game.”
Ashwin is currently playing chess at tournaments at the Australian Junior Chess Championships, the Victorian youth championships, the upcoming state championships and he is playing at the national finals in October, 2018.
He also plays at the Melbourne Chess Club and at inter school chess tournaments and even managed to see Arnold Schwarzenegger play chess at the Australian Sports Festival in March.
According to the ‘tornelo’ website, Ashwin is listed as one of the top 30 best chess players in Australia.
• Rob Kelly is the robotics co-ordinator at Berwick Lodge Primary School