A professional chess player until the age of 13, India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal on Sunday (April 5) went back to his old passion. He took part in an online blitz event organised by chess.com and acknowledged that the indoor sport taught him to be patient on the cricket field.
In a candid conversation with Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta and International Master Rakesh Kulkarni before the event got underway, Chahal said, “Chess taught me patience. In cricket, you may be bowling well but you may not get wickets.
“Like in a Test match you may have bowled well in a day but not got wickets but you have to come back the next day so you need to be patient. Chess has helped me a lot in that way. I have learnt to be patient and get batsmen out.”
Chahal has represented India internationally in chess at youth levels. His name is listed on the World Chess Federation (FIDE) website and his Elo rating is 1956.
Asked about his decision to leave the indoor sport early in order to pursue his dream of representing Team India on the cricket field, Chahal replied: “I had to chose between chess and cricket. I spoke to dad who said the choice was (yours). I had more interest in cricket and opted for it.”
India is currently under a nationwide 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of Coronavirus. The lockdown will end on April 14.
The COVID-19 induced break has forced Chahal and his Indian teammates to sit at home. Had things being normal, the wrist spinner would have been playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 currently.
Nonetheless, Chahal is not complaining as he is getting to spend time with his family.
“I don’t get to spend too much time with my family. After many years I am at home. I am spending a lot of time with my family. It is a good and new experience. I sleep late and wake up late and spend time with my family members in the evening.”
He also urged people to stay indoors in the fight against Coronavirus epidemic.
“Please remain at home, this is an opportunity for you to become a hero. We have to remain united to fight coronavirus. You can read, learn dance, cook, learn new things in the time available,” Chahal concluded.
(With PTI inputs)