Pune: Chess should be looked as a therapy – Vivek Velankar

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Pune, 14th July 2023: “Mental issues, instability, and stress among the young and old have increased a lot post the Covid-19 pandemic. Parents and teachers are repeatedly complaining about children’s increased restlessness, lack of sitting and concentration in studies. In order to increase stability and attentiveness through a concept like chess therapy has become an absolute necessity” said Vivek Velankar, an education expert.

The concept of ‘chess therapy’ by Velankar Chess Institute was inaugurated by Vivek Velankar at Patrakar Sangh recently. Makarand Velankar, chess coach and director of Velankar Chess Institute, Prakash Kunte, father of Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte, and Sonam Thakur, chess coach, were present at the event.

While talking about the idea behind this activity, Makarand Velankar said, “Good mental health naturally draws positive effects on the other activities we do. It also helps in building confidence and hopes to succeed in an I-can-win attitude. Many parents say that children are stubborn, impulsive, and hyperactive. Due to the inability to sit for long, their intelligence is underutilized. Many children face nervousness, think negatively, and have depression. Because of the increased screen time and lack of determination, parents are really worried about their children being slow learners. Therefore, chess therapy can turn out to be beneficial for such issues.”

Makarand Velankar also said, “Along with this, chess therapy can also help in finding a way out of high work pressure. By practicing this game, one’s forgetful behavior can be kept away. Seniors can also highly benefit from chess therapy.”

Giving more details about the therapy, Sonam Thakur said, “This is not a therapy to create players but a focus on the personality development of the students. We have prepared a suitable plan for each student. This therapy is arranged in three steps as the course of three months. This period can also be extended if necessary.”

Thakur also mentioned that it is their aim to make every person chess literate. And through this game, they will also direct the students to work on their weaknesses.

Makarand Velankar, who introduced the idea of chess therapy, has been a chess coach, coordinator, and broadcaster for the last thirty years. He completed his M. Phil in “Good Impact of chess on Children, family, and society” and has created this special model of chess therapy from all these experiences. His colleague Sonam Thakur is a chess coach, state arbiter, and official coach of MCA’s ‘chess in school’ initiative.