On the 26th of September, 2017, I had the opportunity to interview Shivika Rohilla. She bagged the 19th position in the World Chess Championship held at Poços de Caldas in Brazil. The thought of her having bagged the 19th position in an international competition filled me with awe and pride for a fellow St. Marian. Much like my other friends who were just as proud, I was interested in knowing how she started learning chess. She replied,"I learnt to play chess and I played well. It was my mother who helped me with all this. Then, my mother sent me to an academy called the Genius Chess Academy. Children can be a part of this academy if they are 4 years or above. I got better at the game as I grew up. I became a chess genius because I was taught by Yogender sir".
Shivika had gone around the world, to Brazil, to represent the country and couldn't keep myself from asking her about it in an excited way,"How was your journey from here to Brazil?" She replied with pride and joy," Our team had 41 players, all of them were indians. The flight was a connected one. The plane took off from Delhi, India and landed in Dubai, UAE. We stayed in a hotel and took our next flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the plane some were playing chess and some were sleeping. After reaching Rio de Janiero we took a domestic plane to São Paulo and from there a private bus to Poços de Caldas. It took us almost 5 hours to go from Rio de Janeiro to Poços de Caldas. We even saw 'Christ the Redemeer' . The journey was very exciting. I didn't know what other adventures I was going to have in Brazil".
"Hmm.......", said I, jotting down all that she said on a notepad, wondering what I would have to excel at to be able to go around the world too.
I asked," What was the schedule over there ?" "We got up at 5 in the morning and practiced all day till the next match If we played a match on one day, the next day would be an off. There would be no match the next day. Every match was almost 6 hours long. So we could get some rest that day".
She was my junior in school but she responded with such confidence and e`lan that I had to know the secret to her success," What do you think people should do to be successful?" A more simple yet profound answer could not have been said, "They should practice, practice and practice". She replied with a look that said 'this is a no brainer answer.' Before we concluded the interview I asked her this ,"who was your toughest competitor ?"
It didn't take her much time to answer this too, quite expected if I may say.
"No one !" exclaimed the chess genius. "I feel my toughest competitor is myself ".
"Such confidence.." thought I, making plans in my head for world domination, haha