By Nitisha Jain :
INTRODUCED to chess last year as a productive activity during the COVID-19 forced lockdown, this seven-year-old child prodigy has made it big on the international chess map by winning the Dutch National Chess Championship held recently. Born in Nagpur, Raghav Pathak, emerged winner in Netherlands in the PK-H chess category (in seven years age category). Winning seven out of seven rounds, Raghav brilliantly clinched the Dutch title making his native town, Nagpur proud on international platform. Due to pandemic, the tournament was held online. Raghav’s roots are from Nagpur as he was born in the city to Vilas Pathak and Rashmi.
Vilas, is a Global Sourcing Manager at Israel Chemicals Limited (ICL), Europe, and Rashmi is a homemaker. He is grandson of Wasudeo and Vasudha Nakade, residents of Manish Nagar. With a new job offer, Pathak family, shifted to Amsterdam four years ago. From learning every move to winning the Amsterdam inter-club competitions, then regional and now the national championship in a span of just a few months, Raghav’s progress in the game has not only been swift but also stellar. On being asked who introduced Raghav to chess, Rashmi says, “I would say his father, Vilas, is his primary coach. When Vilas taught him the basic moves, Raghav showed keen interest in the game. Soon, we enrolled him in online coaching from Shyam Awghad in Amravati. Along with this, he is presently being coached at VAS Chess Club (Vereenigd Amsterdamsch Schaakengenootschap) in Amsterdam.” Samuel Cohn, his coach from VAS Chess Club, says, “Raghav shows tremendous promise and potential. The best thing about his game is that he is able to notice hidden opportunities and loopholes and convert them into a winning end game strategy.” Raghav’s school too is proud of his achievements. His principal and teachers congratulated him.
He also took his trophy to his school amidst a little celebration. What is next for the little champion? The proud mother says, “If the pandemic is in control, then he will play an open tournament to get international ranking from the FIDE, the World Chess Federation. Also, there is one tournament in Belgium next month. Meantime, he will also get more coaching from a Under-14 Dutch champion. This child prodigy is not limited to just chess. Raghav loves to play football also and is learning the trade of tricks at VVA Spartaan. He speaks excellent Dutch and is one of the toppers in Dutch and maths in his class. “Raghav admires Anish Giri, a Grandmaster from Netherlands, a lot,” adds Rashmi. When asked about his aim in life, Rashmi says, “Raghav aspires to become a Grandmaster and also helps his younger sister, Ira, to follow the suit.” A keen observer and a fast learner, this Nagpur-born prodigy is making the right moves and will surely make it ‘grand’ one day.