The game of chess is not a mere mirror for thousands of years of statecraft, battlefield expertise, fight for honor and land, crown and pride, but a also representation of human depth and ability to stay steady under duress.
Perchance those are the exact elements six scuba divers who played chess under the sea surface of the Bay of Bengal last Sunday experienced.
Chennai shivers with the chess fever, and yet does not lose the poise while celebrating and hosting the prestigious 44th Chess Olympiad, 2022. The administration is motivating people to come up with creative ideas to commemorate the event and more so the game of chess. The brain game paves for other human artistic acheivements.
The ocean is another component of Tamil Nadu. Chess could not avoid the call of the waves. The scuba buddies dive to know if the human power of thinking and of foresight can hold their own under the pressure of water and undulating currents.
The divers plunged into the saline water at a site about five kilometers afar from the Neelangarai coast and placed their boards of chess around sixty feet under. They used especially designed heavy boards and chess pieces. S B Aravind Tharunsri, a Scuba Diving Instructor, headed the group. He embellished himself as the mascot of the 44th Chess Olympiad, 2022 - ‘Thambi’.
Thambi is an intriguing symbol, and it calls for presenting a few anecdotes. Thambi has the head of a horse representing the chess piece knight and is clad in a shirt and white veshti (dhoti). A knight’s look of a stallion's head is derived from the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, and the modern design follows the delineation of a Staunton chess set credited to the journalist Nathaniel Cooke and named after the English chess master Howard Staunton. Thambi is created by Art Director Mr. Saravanan.
We are told that no plastic was used in this endeavor under the sea.
Let’s fold our hands and say, 'Vanakkam' ( Hello/Greetings).