Dubai: Yuzvendra Chahal feels the patience he gained from chess and online blitz games have helped him prepare well for mental battles on cricket field where he has tasted huge success.
“Before the match, chess helps me to train and prepare for the matches. And I love to play while travelling, especially on a flight. The blitz online game will be over like in six to seven minutes,” the Indian leg-spinner said after being the ambassador for SG Alpine Warriors in the Global Chess League.
Chahal is the only Indian player to play chess and cricket for India. The Haryana leg-spinner represented India at the World Youth Chess Championship, but gave up the sport after failing to find sponsorship. “Chess is my first love. Thanks to Vishal of Alpine, I am here and enjoying it,” Chahal added.
Plenty of patience
Chahal first played the nationals in chess at a time he was still playing cricket. The 32-year-old felt chess has taught him plenty of patience and to control his emotions. “When I used to play in 2000, like 23 years ago, you have to sit on one chair for like six to seven hours. It gave me the patience and helped me develop as a bowler. When you are bowling well and you’re not getting the wickets, it can be frustrating, but you need the patience. I really loved it,” Chahal added. “The difference is in cricket you can show your aggression while in chess you have to keep it inside. You can say a lot at your opponent in cricket, but you have to keep calm.”
The wrist spinners are the most sought-after in the Twenty20 formats for their wicket-taking abilities. But Chahal feels there is no real slant towards the leg-spinners as both the finger-spinners and the leg-spinners are key to the game, especially in the Indian Premier League (IPL). “I don’t think it is about wrist spinners or finger spinners. Honestly nothing like that. It depends on you mindset and how well you are. Jaddu-pa (Ravindra Jadeja) Ashwin-bhaya (Ravichandran Ashwin) are among the top wicket-takers in IPL. It is about performance and how well you are going to do that, that’s the main thing,” said Chahal, who has 187 wickets to be the highest wicket-taker in the history of the league.
'Big boost for aspiring players'
Chahal feels events like the Global Chess League has the potential to become the IPL of chess and help unearth many talents in the future. “Whenever there’s a start like this, it is a big boost for many aspiring players. In another 10-15 years, you will see plenty of new players, which is really good for the sport.”
On which Indian player will be able to beat him in chess, Chahal proudly proclaimed, “No one. None in the Indian cricket team can beat me.” Chahal has thrown a challenge, just the way he tosses the ball. Any takers?