Contact and cooperation through chess – Part 2

10/21/2013 – Suneet Mausil, an Indian entrepreneur and chess player, recently ran an experiment, bringing kids with different backgrounds and privileges to cooperate when facing a common challenge: to play a game of chess against him. Part one described the setup on a boat trip, today we show you how the simul was executed – and the followup in the less privileged school.

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Chess cooperation on a boat – Part two

By Suneet S. Mausil

Part one was recently published on our news page –

So the games and the friendship begins. The kids are facing an upstart challenger whose credentials are unknown, but he is making tall haughty claims to win on all 50 boards against the 100 kids. The kids are energized and they want to tame their opponent and not give a single draw away. I can assure you not one kid thought they would lose when the games started. Though they all did lose or were losing at stop of play. The loss, other emotions involved while playing and putting up a fight together, did act as some cement between the one-on-one friendships with their board-mates.

Children always need someone to look up to. It is up to the elders to stand in the middle, to speak up, act and be an example which kids can follow and improve upon. Make no mistake, they are evolving next generations, smarter than us, but the extent to which they will evolve depends on what circumstances and education we provide to them. Yes, I was confused and I am confused, I need these experiments to ensure I do not teach the kids something which I shouldn’t, or I may not deprive them of the quality of the platform they need. Therefore I must first evolve myself. It was a learning experience for me and all others associated with this event. Imagination is more powerful than knowledge, and we need to put this Einstein’s thought to test, as often as possible.

The number of nail biting tensions, open awed mouths and head scratching moves was huge! The first opponent to overcome is your own fear. In order to succeed, the desire for success should be greater than the fear of failure. Right until the end of the event, a lot of games resulted in ‘oh no, should have done this or that’ kind of reactions, which resulted in more communication among kids. They now had a challenge in front of them which they thought they could overcome, and now they had lost, but are made to realize that more cooperation and preparation is required and eventually their win would be unquestionable. It was important for me to keep all kids from crossing the line of dejection of a loss, and rather go more determined to prepare and come back stronger. I explained to them that how lucky I was to win and how close they were to beating me.

Yes, stares as well as innocent looks can win you games sometimes, and some kids discovered that instinctively. Though it didn’t help them this time, and the message to prepare harder and cooperate better was clear.

The team of two, with a stare and smile being tried as a combination

It’s always good to have blessings of your teachers and mentors! All the kids were very disciplined and still there was no air of strictness in how teachers and children interacted. I must appreciate the teachers, caretakers and coaches for doing a good job with the kids.

Special guests from Mauritius and Rodrigues Islands arrive. They are part of a delegation visiting India as part of the NIMSME international initiatives. The boat made a quick stopover to get them onboard, and the guests, like kids, were not fully aware of what the event will be. They were pleasantly surprised and interacted with kids very warm heartedly.

Kids exchanged names and even taught some chess moves to the visiting guests

Meanwhile the games were closing up after a time of around two hours. It was exciting, refreshing and opened up a lot of ideas and perspectives in all of us. For these two hours, no one was an orphan, no one was a rich kid and no one was even a kid. They all were players, trying to do their best to win a game on the same chessboard and same chess pieces as everyone else, against the same opponent, who this time couldn’t be tamed. So the realities of life are still there, but for some time and some circumstances the kids moved beyond and above that. This shows the glimpse of a future that can be… beyond and above the present and providing same opportunities and circumstances for everyone.

Finally all games finished and all the 100 kids got the chess boards as a gift for participating

The closing ceremony, refreshments as well as a dance party was on the rooftop of the boat

Thanking St Anthony’s School, their faculty, coaches and lovely kids
who were very good sport, curious, smart, friendly and delightful

Srivyal Vayyuri, the hero of the cause for the children, the Director of Sphoorti

Where there are kids, there is music and dance. Kids danced with the visiting guests, their caretakers and coaches on the moving boat. The boat staff also joined in the fun and everyone enjoyed.

Special thanks to Mr Vinay, Ms Stephanie, Ms Antoinette and Ms Jeanine from Mauritius and Rodrigues Islands, who were very warm with the kids. The exchange of words meant a lot for them. They could learn and dance with the guests which was very relaxing, learning and reassuring that they are cared for.

Event Videos

1st Planetskool Soul Event – March to the Boat

A Glimpse of the Play

Buddha Smiles – there are more videos here

Chess Coaching @ Sphoorti

Still one piece of the puzzle is missing, which was the responsibility to ensure that the chess culture continues in both the institutions. St Anthony’s School already has Mr Kumar as chess coach. Therefore Technovite Lab gladly sponsored and appointed chess coaching at Sphoorti premises, by the same coach.

If you can do wonders, you should do wonders. No excuses. Preparing for a wonderful future.

I think the biggest puzzle of the world is – "How to use your brain effectively"

Watch a coaching session

Sphoorti is a non-profit organization working for underprivileged children – orphaned, abandoned, destitute and other vulnerable groups. Our mission is to change lives of such children – by providing them with long-term care. This includes basic needs, education and healthcare, and skills necessary to transform them into responsible citizens. They have a web site and a Facebook page. And this is where you can contribute. Be generous, as after all they are all our children.


About the author

Suneet S Mausil is CEO of Technovite Lab, and is focused on software R&D and education. He is totally invested in Planetskool, an under construction initiative which aims at bringing kids closer and helping them learn better. For anyone who wishes to know more about Planetskool, contribute ideas, please be in touch through our facebook pages.


Topics India, Simul
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