The Village In Kerala Which Started Chess As An Alternative To Drinking

The Logical Indian Kerala

December 2nd, 2016 / 3:53 PM

Kerala Village Started Playing Chess

Image Source: brainpowerchess

Kerala Village Started Playing Chess

Every evening in Marottichal, the hustle and bustle comes to a standstill.

If you were wondering, Marottichal is one of the lesser known hills in Thrissur district of Kerala. A place where the inhabitants have a special passion for the game of chess.

If you spend one evening in Marottichal, you will find people converging around black and white boards. They are all discussing hushedly, almost as if conspiring, with sudden joyous cries of “checkmate” – the game is just another way of life for the people of India’s first chess-literate village.

People of all ages, genders, and cultural beliefs are  in love with the game, and have vast knowledge.  You will find 8-year-olds lecturing you about Vishwanathan Anand, Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov.

It started out as an activity of leisure  some three decades ago. Soon it became an obsession and a healthy one at that.

Some 25 years back, C Unnikrishnan came to the village and started a tea-stall after giving up a  job in Bangalore. He found that the villagers were engaged in bootlegging and the youngsters were turning to brewing and the situation was going out of hands. Moved by their plight, he decided to distract them from the unhealthy ventures with the game of chess.

The 59-year-old started teaching the game to the villagers for free. Within a couple of years, chess became very popular in the small village. Now, at least 70% of the 6000 strong village plays chess.

Now, chess has become a normality in everyday life. And enthusiasts are welcomed with open arms in Marottichal .

Unnikrishnan’s wife complains about how her husband ignored the tea-stall and even outsourced the majority of his life-savings for his first love, chess, as reported in the Hindustan Times.

The Fischer fan imbibed the love for the game into the hearts of the villagers and later on, the Chess Association of Marottichal was founded in a bid to popularise the game even more.

Association president Baby John, who is a retired government servant, said, “We piece together our life around this beautiful board.”

The impact of the game has been huge. Both Unnikrishnan and John stressed on how lives of many villagers have changed. Violence and police inquiries are a rarity now. The villagers say that the game is used to checkmate the maladies of the society.

In January, as many as 1001 people played chess with the tables being lined up for a stretch of 1.5 km. This was a record for the most number of people playing the game at a single venue, and the village was thereby honoured with Universal Asian records (URF Asian Reward).

For others, it might just be another game, but for these villagers, it’s a way of life.


Contributors

Edited by :

Share your thoughts..

Related Stories

Kerala Village Sustainable Living

Disturbed To Find 7 Cancer Patients, This Village In Kerala Started Organic Farming In 2006

Taking A Stand: Chess Grandmaster Pulls Out Of Iran Tournament Over Compulsory Headscarf Rule

No Drinking Water For Past 3 Years, Women Of This Village In MP Walk 5 KM Everyday To Fetch Water

From Saline To Clean Drinking Water: This Is How A Village In Puri, Odisha Fought Against Water-Borne Diseases

The rise of Vidit Gujrathi, India’s young chess sensation

Three Indians progress to Round 2 of Chess World Cup

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

“He Is A Brother Of Mine”: Disabled Man Forgives Christchurch Gunman Who Killed His Wife

News

Anil Ambani’s RCom Finally Pays Rs 459 Crore To Ericsson

Get Inspired

Till Date, This Security Guard Has Sent 4,500 Letters To Families Of Martyred Soldiers

Environment

40 Kg Of Plastic Found In Stomach Of Dead Whale In The Philippines

Awareness

Increase In MSP – How Well Does It Address Farmers’ Distress?

Get Inspired

Tribal Agricultural Activist & “Preserver Of Paddy Seeds” From Odisha Awarded Padma Shri

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.