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Interview: GM Ramesh On Coaching India 2 At Chess Olympiad, Winning Bronze

GM R.B. Ramesh is a reputation acknowledged globally within the chess neighborhood, because of his popularity as a chess coach. Over the years, he has helped many chess gamers attain titles and safe medals at International ranges. He is the one Indian coach to have gained two bronze medals on the Chess Olympiad. In an interview with India, the Indian coach shared his experiences of working with the India 2 workforce and make clear his teaching journey thus far. 

Ramesh began his teaching profession fairly early and there is a backstory related to it.

Ramesh with GM Vidit Gujrathi on the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

“I began my teaching profession in 1998. I used to be 22 years outdated and was invited by the Indian chess federation. Back then, Mr. Ummer Koya was the secretary and he requested me if I might have an interest to go as a coach of the Indian junior workforce to the Asian Junior Chess Championship in Iran. Tejas Bakre and Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman gained the boys’ and women’ title respectively—not due to my coaching or something, however as a result of I used to be merely there. That was the primary time I used to be given the position of a coach. 

“Immediately after getting back from Iran, I used to be requested by Aarthie Ramaswamy‘s mother and father if I might have an interest to work along with her. Back then, the idea of [a] coach was nonetheless not there—it was very casual. Playing video games, displaying some positions, and so forth. Thus, I began working along with her. Next 12 months, she gained the World U-18 Championship in Spain. She was seeded thirteenth and never a favourite to win.” After an ideal consequence by Aarthie, Ramesh began getting many teaching provides from different gamers, and that marked the start of his teaching profession. The choice to show into an expert coach got here a number of years later.

“It was not a one-day choice. Some of my college students began changing into nationwide champions, worldwide masters, and grandmasters in a brief time frame. It was changing into clearer to me that I used to be changing into extra profitable as a coach than a participant. Also, I loved coaching greater than enjoying. Playing was changing into extra traumatic and I began devoting extra time to working with different gamers.

“In 2008, I give up my job with Indian Oil Corporation and in addition retired from enjoying chess on the age of 32. We [R.B. Ramesh and his wife Aarthie Ramaswamy] began Chess Gurukul in Chennai.”

Aarthie Ramaswamy and R.B. Ramesh. | Source: Aarthie Ramaswamy’s Facebook.

“I beloved instructing chess to younger kids. The expertise is near my coronary heart. I wished to put a powerful basis within the minds of younger kids. The journey of changing into a greater participant ought to be satisfying. Wanted to inculcate that the scholars have an essential position to play. They shouldn’t outsource their studying to trainers and suppose others will make them a greater participant. It ought to be clear that they need to give you their very own efforts and develop into accountable.”

I beloved instructing chess to younger kids. The expertise is near my coronary heart.

—R.B. Ramesh 

When requested what he beloved rather a lot in regards to the teaching course of: “Generally, it’s an honor and privilege and an ideal alternative to have the ability to affect and be part of a person’s chess journey over time and mould them in a correct means.”

Working With Praggnanandhaa 

Ramesh began working with GM R Praggnanandhaa when the prodigy was near being 8 years outdated. He was already a nationwide U-7 and world U-8 champion. At that point, his sister, IM Vaishali R, was stronger and he or she was the world U-12 women’ champion. 

Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali | Source: Maria Emelianova/

“From the very first day, it was clear that Pragg and Vaishali had been gifted in chess. What struck me was their down-to-earth, humble nature. Success didn’t get into their head. I’ve seen numerous kids take success to their head. They had been keen to work extraordinarily exhausting. They didn’t give you a mindset like, ‘Oh, Ramesh is an efficient coach and he’ll make me a world champion.’ Many kids come to me like that. But, they knew their position. They knew that they had been the heroes of their very own journey and whether or not they develop into profitable or not is inside their very own exhausting work and dedication. 

“Many college students come to me and say that they work 8 hours a day, or 10 hours a day. They suppose they’re working exhausting. But, I really feel that tough work isn’t just in regards to the quantity of hours we spend money on chess, but additionally in regards to the high quality of the time we make investments and our involvement within the efforts. Pragg and Vaishali make investments numerous themselves into the sport. 

Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

“Pragg would not get too unhappy about losses. He has the power to bounce again from tough conditions and that’s one thing I like.”

When requested how Pragg developed the ability, Ramesh shared that he pays numerous consideration to the psychological facet of the game. “I’m highly regarded amongst my college students for my recommendation and lengthy lectures.” He emphasizes specializing in the learnings concerned and aiming towards progress with out dropping sight of the eventual, long-term targets. 

Pragg not too long ago celebrated his seventeenth birthday. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Speaking of the altering occasions, Ramesh shared that rather a lot has modified within the final 5 years. “During the pandemic, all of the teaching assignments shifted on-line. The variety of college students elevated as the power to achieve numerous college students elevated, however I additionally felt that the standard was dropping drastically. The interplay with the coed wasn’t private and it was not doable to be efficient as a coach on-line when in comparison with coaching in individual. I really feel that I’m more practical as a coach in-person than on-line. “The gamers are rising sturdy, particularly Praggnanandhaa and GM Aravindh Chithambaram with whom I’ve been working for a few years. The gamers require my time and a focus and there are youthful youngsters too. So, the juggling between many college students has been robust.

“Coaching is an evolving course of. We are by no means the identical as people, we maintain altering for higher or worse. After working for a few a long time as a coach, I really feel that the position of psychology has been drastically underestimated by trainers all over the world. I wish to focus extra on that together with the technical facets of the sport. If one thing is stopping a person from studying issues, these points have to be addressed.”   

The Selection Process Of India 2

In accordance with the rules, the host nation will get to discipline an extra workforce within the Open and Women’s sections. Thus, India fielded a second workforce in every occasion. The All India Chess Federation laid out clear guidelines on how they would choose the gamers for the workforce. When deciding the workforce, the typical score of three months was taken to pick out the 5 gamers.

“When I used to be in Reykjavik with Pragg for the Reykjavik Open, I used to be approached by AICF to be the coach of the second workforce. I readily agreed!”

India 2 Team. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

In response to Ivan Sokolov’s remark concerning Indian groups, Ramesh shared his ideas: “I attempt to not give my opinions on points the place I’ve no inside information. I really feel that it’s higher to not give an opinion on rumour. It isn’t like a person is selecting the Indian workforce. The guidelines are effectively laid out. Different strategies of choice have been tried over time. For this occasion, the AICF determined that the highest 5 rated gamers of the nation will symbolize India on the Chess Olympiad because the score is the reflection of the gamers’ energy at that time of time. Three months score common was considered earlier than the Olympiad to decide on the workforce. 

“It is essential that the foundations are in place in order that the politics do not take over on the essential facets, like who will symbolize the nation. So, effectively laid out, clear guidelines are essential. I’m proud that AICF has such clear guidelines in place. The second Indian workforce got here into the image since we had been the internet hosting nation of the occasion and the second workforce was additionally chosen based mostly on the identical parameters. Subsequently, when the third workforce got here into the image, the identical course of was adopted. 

“I believe it is vitally dangerous to debate such occasions only for the sake of the discussions. If such discussions are to happen, they need to be executed with the long-term pursuits of the sport and the nation involved. The discussions may be taken to the authorities and mentioned. If higher guidelines may be framed, positively—I’m all for it.”

The captains in the course of the essential India 2 vs. Uzbekistan encounter. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Coaching India 2

“There had been two camps in Chennai. Praggnanandhaa, GM Raunak Sadhwani, and GM Baskaran Adhiban attended the primary camp. GM Nihal Sarin joined us for the second camp. GM Gukesh D couldn’t be a part of each the camps as he was having another commitments. I couldn’t get to know Gukesh earlier than the occasion. In [the] case of Nihal, I began figuring out him by way of the camp. 

“We labored on calculations and the psychological facets within the first camp. Raunak was good with calculations however was relying extra on instinct than going into the small print. I felt {that a} distinction may very well be made in Raunak’s general energy.

“It is sensible to depend on instinct in complicated positions the place it’s not doable to calculate or if you find yourself in need of time. When you will have time on the clock and when the place within reason inside your limits of analytical talents, it is sensible to enter the small print.

“Nihal and Adhiban had some form of minor points. Nihal is a particularly sturdy participant, however his score had been stagnating for the final 12 months. He additionally had a bent to make attracts in opposition to lower-rated gamers. Adhiban had dropped from 2700 to 2598 in the previous couple of years and he was additionally going by way of a troublesome section. As a coach, it was an fascinating problem and a chance to make a distinction within the lives of the gamers who’re attempting to make a comeback. 

As a coach, it was an fascinating problem and a chance to make a distinction within the lives of the gamers who’re attempting to make a comeback. 

—R.B. Ramesh

“Prior to our first camp, I had spoken to Adhiban on the Reykjavik Open whereas he was having a troublesome time within the occasion. I requested him to rethink and rework his priorities and commitments. During the camp, I used to be stunned when he mentioned that he had stopped utilizing social media. It was heartening to know that he’s keen to make some sacrifices in his life for his chess enchancment. I’m all the time comfortable to work with such gamers who’re keen to alter themselves and eliminate their unhealthy habits. I used to be very proud of each the camps, however the gamers will give higher suggestions!”

GM Adhiban B. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Ramesh summarised the important facets of the gamers as follows:

  • Gukesh: Self-confidence, daring play, dangerous strategy, slim opening repertoire, defends effectively in robust positions, and fascinating time administration.
  • Nihal: Very regular and stable, not a broad opening repertoire, reliable, not a lot risk-taking, fascinating time administration.
  • Pragg: Can play any place, has common type, broad repertoire, engaged on areas of concern.
  • Raunak: Solid repertoire with Black [Berlin], may be daring with White [had wins against Dominguez and Nisipeanu], may be very aggressive [which suits his style better than the Berlin he plays], very emotional [if he gains better control over handling emotions, he can go really high very soon]
  • Adhiban: Is in his second innings, attempting to come back again, malleable to alter, broad repertoire, and really optimistic.

Routine During The Event

“First of all, Gukesh was engaged on his personal all through the occasion. I’m not positive about his schedule. He wished his personal privateness, which all of us wished to respect. As a workforce, he contributed rather a lot with all subsequent wins on the highest board. Initially, I had some apprehensions as a result of he didn’t have a lot expertise on the 2700+ stage. So, we weren’t positive how it might end up. But, he took accountability. He mentioned: ‘I would favor to play on the highest board.’ He confirmed the world that he can deal with all ranges of gamers, defeating GM Fabiano Caruana. He deservingly received the board prize (gold) on the highest board. I’m very comfortable for him!

Fact: Gukesh’s nickname is Guki. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

“We requested the resort administration to offer us extra tables within the room. All the opposite gamers assembled in our room from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Special point out ought to be made to GM Stany G.A. and GM Arjun Kalyan who labored actually exhausting in the course of the camps and the match. Once the board order was identified, we used to debate the doable openings on each board and divide the work. In addition to that, whoever was not enjoying on that day would additionally be a part of and assist us in preparations. Thus, we had 4 helpers serving to 4 gamers in order that numerous floor may very well be lined. We ensured that everybody was effectively ready when it got here to the opening stage of the sport.”  

Ramesh shared that Nihal and Raunak had tendencies to sleep very late, get up late, and skip breakfast. They had been enjoying numerous chess at night time, profitable numerous on-line tournaments within the course of, however this occasion wanted a distinct form of routine. Considering the occasion schedule, particularly the final spherical, he felt {that a} change right here might do the workforce numerous good. He suggested them each to slowly change their sleeping cycle in the course of the camp in order that they’re recent to go for the video games.

GM Nihal Sarin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Elaborating on the subject, he added: “It is to their credit score that they each made the modifications even in the course of the camp. Initially, Nihal was going to mattress at 3 or 4 a.m., however progressively made the change and in addition began coming to breakfast. Really comfortable to see that it was Nihal and Raunak who gained their respective video games with the white items within the ultimate spherical that began at 10 a.m. within the morning.”

GM Raunak in motion. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Ramesh believed that workforce bonding was of utmost significance. “Everyone within the workforce was very shut to one another and had been trusting one another. The gamers additionally used to play desk tennis after their video games. We used to have dinner collectively and would then have a workforce assembly to resolve the board order as soon as the pairings had been out at night time.”

Prior to the occasion, Ramesh felt that the workforce had a very good probability of incomes a medal however wasn’t sure in regards to the shade. “It isn’t like if one participant performs effectively we are going to take the gold. It must be a collective effort. Some super-human effort like what Gukesh did, however that alone won’t carry the workforce. Everyone has to contribute and play to their respective targets. I would not say that we knew we had been going to take gold. That’s in all probability wishful considering. But, the gamers had been performing effectively and if everybody is ready to increase their stage, a medal was positively doable and that is what occurred. The gamers raised their stage a lot that we got here very near profitable gold.”

 Talking about what saved him going all through the occasion, Ramesh revealed that he used to go to the gymnasium within the mornings and usually made time to meditate. 

R.B. Ramesh in deep thought. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

“I attempted to stay calm in the course of the occasion. It helps the gamers that there’s somebody for them all through the occasion. It is a psychological factor. These are younger gamers they usually haven’t got a lot expertise of enjoying in workforce occasions. It is essential that we do not get carried away by what is occurring on the opposite boards. This can also be one thing we had mentioned. If somebody is in bother on a sure board, you do not have to develop into determined and create a multitude by yourself board. It will simply increase the nervousness ranges of everybody! My recommendation to the gamers was to simply give attention to their very own video games.” 

The Loss Against Armenia And Gukesh’s Loss Against Abdusattarov

“The loss in opposition to Armenia was surprising as we had disasters on the third and fourth board. It was robust, however we had enough time to recuperate as we had a number of extra rounds to go. We made good use of these rounds to recuperate our type and get our confidence again. Had it occurred in direction of the tip, we’d have had lesser alternatives to come back again. We informed ourselves: we are able to both surrender hope and buckle down below stress, which is the simplest factor to do, or increase our stage and develop into extra accountable. I informed the gamers that it’s our alternative and we are able to select not to surrender they usually all rose again bravely. I’m very pleased with them!”

I informed the gamers that it’s our alternative and we are able to select not to surrender they usually all rose again bravely.

—R.B. Ramesh

Ramesh termed the results of the important recreation between Gukesh and GM Nodirbek Abdusattarov as painful. “A draw might have given us a lead over others. We would have been forward of Uzbekistan and we additionally had a very good tiebreak in opposition to Armenia. We had been all upset, however we had the following spherical within the morning. There was no time to grieve and [it] was essential for us to hit again strongly to have any probabilities for a medal. 

“The recreation ended late and I and Gukesh had been the final to depart. On our means again, Gukesh mentioned that he needs to play the ultimate spherical. I additionally wished him to play, as he was enjoying effectively apart from the few strikes in that spherical. The board order was determined in a short time. We wished Raunak to play as White within the ultimate spherical on the fourth board. After deciding our opening plans, we divided our work. GMs Stany and Kalyan labored till 4:30 a.m. on the following day and accomplished the preparation in order that the fabric was prepared when the gamers wakened.”

Viswanathan Anand’s Support

“After the draw in opposition to Uzbekistan, GM Viswanathan Anand knowledgeable us that he would possibly drop in. He first met Gukesh and had a chat with him. Later, all of us met him and had a short dialogue. Everyone on the workforce was very motivated after assembly Anand! 

“It was essential that we don’t panic. Germany was seeded larger than us. We knew that it was not going to be straightforward. But, if we performed effectively, we knew we might beat them. 

“I strongly imagine that, for us to look good, it’s not crucial that we have now to make others look unhealthy. If we do our job and if we do it effectively, we are going to deservingly get what we would like often. That’s definitely my philosophy and I used to be very comfortable that my spouse (Aarthie) was additionally emphasizing the identical to my son.

“Next day, incredible consequence! Both Raunak and Nihal performed true to their type. Nihal progressively outplayed his opponent and Raunak performed a very flashy recreation and displayed good opening preparation. In addition, we had two stable attracts by Gukesh and Pragg and secured bronze.”

Two Bronze Medals At The Chess Olympiads. What Are Some Things That GM Ramesh Did Right?

Ramesh: “It’s not what I did proper. It is what the gamers did that received the medal. The position of the captain/coach is simply to be a catalyst. We attempt to facilitate the method, however the course of is mainly what the gamers do. Our job was to maintain them in good type, to maintain their focus within the match till the tip. It may be very straightforward to surrender when issues develop into robust or it’s straightforward to begin blaming some particular person or the opposite. I’ve seen this occur rather a lot. If there may be numerous inside politics inside the workforce, it may very well be dangerous. I attempt to not give house for these items. Also, I ensured that the gamers are following a wholesome routine and are sleeping effectively. 

“In case of losses, if self-pity and self-doubt crop up, it’s exhausting to contribute to the workforce. So, I saved speaking to the gamers commonly, reminding them: (a) why they’re there and what’s essential, (b) how every participant is essential to the workforce, (c) that they should be in a good condition all through the occasion, and (d) that they need to not let negativity spoil the environment.”

On the following day, Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu introduced a money award of Rs 1 crore (roughly $125,792.30) for the workforce. 

Ramesh expressed his gratitude towards Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.Ok. Stalin, the state missionary, the AICF workforce, volunteers, police officers, drivers, and the resort workers for working tirelessly in making the Chess Olympiad successful. He additionally conveyed particular because of his household, the workforce’s assistant coaches, and the mother and father and members of the family of the gamers within the interview.

We thank GM R.B. Ramesh for giving us his time and we want him one of the best in all his future endeavors!



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