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Shirov stint an U-turn for GM Ganguly

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Sep 14 (UNI) For Arjuna awardee Surya Sekhar Ganguly a stint with grandmaster Alexi Shirov could well be the U-turn his career needed to set him for higher glories.

Talking to UNI grandmaster Ganguly said, ''I have never had any personal coach. So this was a great experience. I have learnt so much from him in the month I spent with him in Latvia.'' From July 17 to August 17, Ganguly was in the Latvian capital Riga living at Shirov's apartment and gaining valuable knowledge of chess. Shirov, a world no 15 and someone who at one point had challenged Vishwanathan Anand, is considered one of the best in the game.

''We talked and played chess for 18 to 20 hours a day. Then we went for a walk in a forest close to our house. Since the house was just at the edge of the city it had a beautiful and pristine setting and that added to the tranquility of the place,'' he added.

He remembered that it was in the Canadian Open last year that Shirov was impressed with his game and offered his help. It was after the Gibralter meet that the things got finalised. ''He praised my quick thinking and tactical superiority, and yet was surprised at my low ELO ratings,'' Surya remembered.

Standing at 2567 points, Surya has slighted from his best ever point tally of 2599 and the 2600 ELO points looks to be a far cry now. But the chess ace is thinking otherwise, ''The stay with Shirov has boosted my confidence, helped me understand my Strengths and also eliminate my weaknesses. Now I am only concentrating on my game. If I keep winning the points will accumulate. I am no longer running after it.'' The fact that he has remained far behind P Harikrishna (2682 points) and S Sashikaran (2675) and ranked 25th and 29th in the World, respectively does not affect him much other than inspiring him to do better.

One of the areas that have helped them is professional coaching and European circuit, and now having set his eye on both Surya is not looking back.

Asked what tournaments he has in the offing, he said besides the Nationals and two international events in Delhi and Chennai, he would go to Corsica and Germany for a couple of tournaments.

On whether the Arjuna award was a welcome recognition, he said, ''It is a recognition for the chess players. I feel good about it.'' ''Yes, Arjuna award was followed by a lot of felicitation and that took me off the game. But now I'm back to my groove,'' he added.


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