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Six-day camp for chess players

Siliguri, Dec. 24: The Himalayan Chess Academy has started a six-day coaching camp for 12 players from north Bengal, Assam and Bihar.

Mantu Ghosh, a former national table tennis champion and the first Arjuna awardee of the region, inaugurated the camp at the Sports Authority of India complex in the Kanchenjungha Stadium here this morning.

“It is a unique initiative taken by the academy for honing the skills of young talents of the region,” Ghosh said after opening the camp. “I hope, the academy will involve more schoolchildren in their camps next time, because chess has become a popular sport among the students.”

The players in the age bracket of 7-15 years have come from Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Jorhat of Assam and Kishanganj of Bihar. Atanu Lahiri, an international master and chief coach of the academy, is their trainer. He was also the Commonwealth chess champion held in India in 1999.

“The academy organised the camp only for those players who had participated in different national and international chess events,” Lahiri said. “Our aim is to give them better training by organising advanced coaching camps regularly.”

Trilokananda, one of the participants who has come from Jorhat, recently drew a match against grandmaster Nilotpal Das in Assam’s Mongoldoi “I have come here to improve my skills,” she said.

A Class IX student of Jalpaiguri Government Girls’ High School, Ananya Pal, who had participated in the national chess championship, is aspiring to get advanced lessons to better her skills. “After participating here, I shall be able to play much better.”

The academy also plans to hold school-level chess tournament in March next year.

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