RB Ramesh: The Master Shifu of Indian Chess Transforms Passion into Prestige

RB Ramesh: The Master Shifu of Indian Chess Transforms Passion into Prestige

At 32, RB Ramesh made a daring move, leaving behind a comfortable job and retiring from professional chess to pursue his true calling as a full-time chess trainer. Today, he stands as a proud recipient of the prestigious Dronacharya Award, a testament to his dedication and impact on the world of Indian chess.

Often referred to as the 'Master Shifu of Indian Chess,' Ramesh has played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of renowned players like R Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali Rameshbabu, among many others.

Reflecting on his unconventional journey, Ramesh recalls the pivotal moment in 2008 when he decided to transition from being a top chess player, having achieved the title of Grandmaster just four years prior. Despite the financial risks, he followed his passion for coaching, leaving his job at the Indian Oil Corporation to become a full-time chess trainer.

"Quitting my job was a very risky decision. I also quit my playing career at a time when I was the Commonwealth Champion. In hindsight now, I feel very happy and proud to have taken those two decisions," Ramesh shared in a recent interview.

Despite facing financial challenges and skepticism from peers in the chess community, Ramesh's wife, Aarthie Ramaswamy, supported his dream, taking on financial responsibility so that he could focus on his career as a chess trainer. This support led to the creation of the Chess Gurukul Academy in Chennai, where numerous talented players, including Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali, honed their skills.

Looking back on his coaching journey, Ramesh highlights achievements such as winning a bronze medal for the Indian chess team at the Chess Olympiad, a historic moment when India emerged victorious despite not being the favorites.

Dutch grandmaster Anish Giri aptly dubbed Ramesh the 'Master Shifu of the Indian chess team,' a title that has stuck and resonates with his approach to coaching. Ramesh sees himself not only as a chess trainer but also as a guide and philosopher for his students.

Ramesh's coaching philosophy extends beyond chess moves, emphasizing the importance of purpose and a long-term perspective. "I usually educate children at my academy to not get addicted to social media or having a life with too much entertainment. I teach them to have a purpose and take it as a long journey," he shared.

RB Ramesh's journey from a Grandmaster to a revered chess trainer is a testament to the transformative power of following one's passion and the profound impact it can have on the lives of others.

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