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Chase for chess thrives at three
- Sonia Varma promises to take on older challengers at the board meet

Jamshedpur, Oct. 16: She was nervous while moving the black pieces across the board. The kid was also a bit dazzled by the hustle-bustle accompanying the sixth The Telegraph Schools' Chess-2005.

At three years, ten months and two days, it took Sonia Varma some time to regain her composure. The youngest participant of the chess meet that is underway at the eastern wing of the JRD Tata Sports Complex, Sonia is fast learning the nitty-gritty of the game. 'I am learning chess from my mummy and daddy. I have already learnt some openings,' she mumbles.

The loss in the opening two rounds today did not disappoint her for she believes the chess meet is a learning experience. 'This is my first tournament. I was nervous initially but settled down gradually after making some moves,' she said. Sonia, who is yet to take admission in school, made the Giuoco opening in the first round and lost to Avinash Verma of Kerala Samajam Model School. It ended in just half an hour. Sonia later lost the second round to Kushal Thankey of Delhi Public School.

The kid was with her father Ashok Varma after the loss. She asked him ' a district senior chess champion twice (in 2000 and 2002) and Tata Chess Centre coach ' to rush her home as she was hungry. 'I'll come back tomorrow to play the next rounds. I have to complete 11 rounds,' said Sonia, participating in the under-6 age category. She would ask her mother Mamata to iron out some of the wrong moves she made during her loss in the opening rounds.

'I am tired but would spend time with my mother in the evening. I'll try to play well tomorrow,' Sonia said confidently.

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