Chess prodigy hopes to find sponsors

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sahaj Grover is the youngest Indian to have a FIDE rating at age seven. But he is finding it hard to find sponsors.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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New Delhi:

Seven-year-olds becoming chess champions is not anything new in India these days. But Sahaj Grover has a special record to his name. He is the youngest Indian to have a FIDE rating. But Sahaj is finding it hard to play in international events because nobody is willing to sponsor him. He started playing chess at the age of three and now at 7 years 9 months, Sahaj has a handful of titles to his name. He is the current under-7 National Champion and he won two silver medals in the British Championships in the under-8 and under-10 category. The new kid on the block is coached by former National Junior Champion Gurpreet Pal Singh, who is already getting used to losing chess games to his student. "Sahaj has made rapid progress. If he gets proper opportunities and training, he will go a long way. As a 7-year-old his temperament is good, but it needs to be worked on. It will also come with age and more experience," said Gurpreet. Sahaj may be a chess prodigy, but he prefers to keep his answers short. This is his reply to what he likes other than chess: "I like cricket." Sahaj says defeating Anand is his dream, though Garry Kasparov is his favourite. However, getting to be as good as his heroes might be a tough task, given that financial problems are hampering his participation at international events. His mother, Dimple Grover, said, "The biggest problem that we are facing is lack of sponsorship. His school helps to a certain extent but that is not sufficient. Right now we don't have any funds even to pay the participation fees in the various tournaments and later when he will need IM and GM level coaching, that is beyond our reach." Sahaj is too young to understand these constraints. He just wants to focus on his chess. Hopefully his performances will speak for themselves and earn him a sponsor one of these days.

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