Like most of the parents, Ramesh Naidu and Chandrakala made their son Ch. Karthik Sai play chess as a hobby to wean him away from electronic devices.

And, now the mother has no regrets as the 13-year-old Karthik recently won the gold in the under-14 category of the Commonwealth chess championship in Delhi with six points from seven rounds.

With coach Arun Manikonda finetuning his skills on the 64 squares in the Kings Chess Academy here, Karthik is now understandably dreaming big — to be a Grandmaster at the earliest.

For someone known to be good in his favourite line of London System, this young boy with an Elo rating of 1910 is said to have the talent and the focus to go places.

“His strengths are his opening repertoire and the end-game variations and now we are focusing more on middle-game,” says the proud coach Arun.

The eighth standard student of DAV School (Miyapur), who interestingly has never won a National title in any age group except for the bronze in the 2016 SGFI Nationals, says he is already into reading a lot of GM Jacob Aagaard’s books on the game even as he keeps track of his idol Viswanathan Anand’s games.

“To be honest, the coaching will have to be of a different level now. I will put it this way. Till now, it was of IM-level and we have to take it to the GM-level and, more importantly, make him play in as many international events as possible,” he says.

And, Karthik, whose next big event is the National under-15 championship in Kolkata from July 16, is confidence personified for someone so young.

“The Commonwealth gold is a huge morale-booster which made me believe that I can make it big and I only hope to keep improving,” he signed off.

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