Sports

Yuzvendra Chahal Attends Global Chess League, Calls Chess His 'First Love'

The likes of World Champions Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand have been among those who have praised the tournament and ensured the competition would be stiff by being a part of the mix.

Chahal is the ambassador of the SG Alpine Warriors team.
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India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who knows a thing or two about chess, says playing the sport at a competitive level has helped him to stay patient while dealing with challenges in his cricket career. (More Chess News)

Chahal, who has represented India in the World Youth Chess Championship, has joined SG Alpine Warriors as their ambassador in the ongoing Global Chess League.

"My first jerseys came from playing chess, and the sport has taught me patience over the years. And that helps me in my cricket because sometimes you may bowl well, but not get a wicket, and it is then that patience is really needed," Chahal said in a press release on Monday.

A well-known chess aficionado, Chahal explained that the sport has similarities with cricket because it is essential to plan your way through the game in both.

"Chess and cricket are similar, but in cricket, you can show your aggression, but in chess, you can't. It is all about how calm you are in chess. 

"For example, if I am bowling, I can say something to the batter, but in chess, you must stay calm and focused. And it will eventually help you in your life as well," the Indian cricketer said on the sidelines of the Global Chess League here.

The 32-year-old Chahal, who said he didn't expect to be playing for the Indian cricket team when he stepped away from chess, noted that the Global Chess League is a shot in the arm for the sport.

"In India, we always follow cricket, but the Global Chess League is the IPL of chess. This is the first edition of this tournament, so a comparison with the IPL isn't fair. But it is a great initiative as people will learn more about chess and the league.

"And the new format of mixed teams is a fantastic thing too. I am waiting for about 10-15 years, and then you will see new players coming through, and people will talk about the Global Chess League. I will be very happy when it comes to that stage."

The likes of world champions Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand are among those who have praised the tournament. 

The inaugural edition of the Global Chess League began on the June 21 and will end on July 2.

Chahal said a couple of members of the Indian cricket contingent would play chess while travelling.

"In the Indian team, there is no one who can beat me (laughs). Sometimes I play with R Ashwin, and then there is Shanker Basu, our trainer with whom I used to play. We used to play quite a bit during the flights and when we were travelling."

Chahal, who finds time to indulge in a round of chess on the internet every now and then, said, "I play chess sometimes during the journey before a game as it helps make me calm. And especially during the flights, I play chess.

"Chess is growing now, and it has been two decades since I connected with the sport like this, and this (chess) is my first love," he signed off.

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