Kasaragod: Vishal Bhat of Point Cook (Melbourne) is ranked 2 among the under-14 chess players in Australia.
A year nine student of Melbourne High School, Vishal looks up to Vishwanathan Anand for inspiration as his idol. But it’s the current world champion, Magus Carlson that he is following more closely.
“I like his style of playing. I like his ability to play the middle game, Even if the game is heading towards a draw, he puts pressure on his opponent and wins,” says Vishal.
To prepare for the tournament, Vishal is devoting 2-3 hours to chess each day. Though he feels chess complements his studies, he is having to balance his time between studies and chess.
“On the days I don’t have homework, I play chess all day. But if I have a lot of homework from school, then of course, I can’t spend much time on chess.”
Ahead of the tournament, Vishal is working on certain areas of his game.
“I am reading a lot of chess books to work on the opening moves of my game. I spend a lot of time playing online because it’s better to play with random people for their different styles rather than just play with the computer that’s programmed in a certain way,” Vishal told SBS Punjabi.
While Vishal feels privileged to be able to represent Australia, he is appealing the wider community to support chess like they do sports such as cricket and soccer.
“Unlike sports like soccer and cricket, chess is not publicised and promoted and receives little funding/sponsorship, which is why I appeal to the public to become involved in the chess community so that this sport receives the acknowledgement it deserves.”
Vishal started playing chess nearly six years ago. He received his first lessons in chess from his mother. Originally from Karnataka in India, his parents moved to Australia in 2006 and are running their IT consulting business in Melbourne.
Other members of the Australian team to play at the tournament are David Cannon, Kris Chan, Luis Chan and Licia Yao.
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