Pune: He is very soft-spoken and always smiling, no matter what the situations demands. This is what the youngest International Master chess wizard of Rahuri, a small hamlet near Shirdi in Pune district Shardul Gagare is all about.
For all his friends and near and dear ones it is his smile, which speaks a thousand words, but for the opponent sitting across the table in the 64-square game, he is known as the ‘Smiling Assassin’. The best part of the future chess wizard of the country, Shardul, is that he accepts defeat with a smile.
Shardul, was always with a cricket bat in his younger days (five-year-old) and it was by default he picked up the game when he was on a summer holiday, visiting a relative. “Ï was playing cricket since I was three-years-old, and during one of the breaks (lunch) while playing cricket, I saw my uncle playing chess with his friends. I had a go at it and from then there has been no turning back,” said Shardul, while speaking to dna after his fourth round match at the Junior National Championship underway at the boxing hall in Balewadi sports complex on Friday.
It was eleven years ago, and his dedication and commitments to the game has seen him become the youngest IM of the state (16 years) last year.
“This is just the beginning. I have a long way to go,”said Shardul who wants to win this championship, all because it has been played in his home state. “I have own just one national championship (under-7) at the Calicut Nationals held in the year 2004, and now after ten years, I have a chance to win the second national title, which is being played in Pune,”said Shardul.
Shalmali, his elder sister also picked up the game. Now, a dental college student, she has the woman’s International Master (WIM) to her credit, but she has taken academic serious as she wants to take forward her parents profession (medicine), but Shardul wants to take a different path.
“I have passed Class X this year (74 per cent), but I want to achieve much more in this game, which also helps me in my academics,” said the lanky lad who has never been to school but has passed with flying colours. “My school principal and staff have been good to me as I have attended the class room only to answer exams,” said the outstanding student in academics.
A fan of none other than Vishwanathan Anand, the world champion, Shardul wants to be a world champion and set an example like Anand. “I will be a champion. With the support from my parents and all others, especially, my sponsors.”