As a child, I always thought – what good can possibly come out of a punishment? Those who are sincere won’t repeat the same thing again, those who aren’t would continue doing the same. However, only recently I met Parnali Dharia and was awe-struck by this 17-year old chess player, who today is Ranked no. 5 (U-18) in India, and she says it all started with a punishment.
Parnali Dharia, who has represented India at the international level in Chess is a WIM (Woman International Master) and aims to be a Grand Master by 20. Parnali was a mischievous child. Climbing walls was one of the activities she would love to do. Clearly, no chess involved there :P. So how did she take up Chess?
Her father was a chess player, so essentially one might think that chess came naturally for her. However, that wasn’t the case. Many a time, as a part of her punishment, she was made to sit with her father while he played chess. Often she would find the game of Chess to be boring and not so interesting.
“Initially I used to get bored because I had to sit”
source : mumbaisuburbanchess.com
Little that she new, in a few years she would dream of becoming a Grand Master. Her mother enrolled her in a class where she started developing the interest in playing chess. However, it was only when she was 11 that she seriously considered playing chess. Since then, she has participated in numerous Chess Tournaments in India and across the world.
source : news.aicf.in
She is currently pursuing Commerce and when we asked her the plans for her future:
“I want to become a Grand Master by 20’ – that was her prompt reply. Practicing for 5 hours a day, Parnali reads books to improve her game, and often practices online.
Apart from playing chess, Parnali loves skating – “Chess is Passion, Skating is a hobby”. She gladly admitted that she does not like languages and so she took up Commerce. However, her interests lie in Architecture as well.
In a cricket frenzy nation, pursuing any other sport as a career option is a difficult choice to make, especially Chess.
“There are Chess leagues in India. But there’s lack of publicity and not many people are aware of the competitions. Basically, people feel it’s boring and don’t understand.”
Upon being asked her inspiration, she promptly said, Magnus Karlsen and Humpy Koneru.
We went ahead and asked her about one of her matches with Michele Catherina at the Asian Youth Games in 2014 and were completely bowled over with her confident chess jargoan. 😛 ; refraining to ask any further questions that involves technical aspects of the game.
Representing India at the international level at such young age, she says chess does not affect her studies.
“It’s my dad’s dream, and it’s my dream as well.”
source : news.aicf.in
And we are sure she would go on to become a Grand Master and reap many more rewards. It is the small moments in life that make us big and those simple choices that make us great.