The great 'Grand Master'
Kochi: Sukumar Azhikode, the former Principal of SNM Training College in 1963, had lauded his student PV Narayanan Namboodiripad for securing first place in poetry and chess competitions held for the students. Azhikode had conveyed his special appreciation to Namboodiripad as both competitions ‘test the cognitive faculties of a person’ .
Namboodiripad does not write poems any longer. However, he still holds chess close to heart even when celebrating his 84th birthday.
He said that he was introduced to the world of chess at the age of 19 when he was bedridden at his mother’s house due to an illness. It was his uncle, Sankaran Namboodiripad, who taught him chess in order to kill time. He learned more tricks as he started playing chess with another relative Kunju Namboodiripad.
Namboodiripad started approaching chess seriously after joining a school to teach during the liberation struggle in Kerala.
“The students did not come to school during the liberation struggle period. However, it was mandatory for the teachers to go. It was in this context that I started playing chess with colleagues. This continued even when I joined Kanjiramattom school, Perumbavoor and Ernakulam Girls High School”, Namboodiripad remembered.
He became the champion in All Kerala Teachers Chess Championship held at Kottayam in 1976. He went on to win many more championships. Later, he became a match organiser and started reading about chess theories. He also wrote books on the game of chess.
Namboodiripad has also set up a library with more than 200 books in his house. His wife died 2 years back and now his children support his passion for the game.
“Almost all the games in the world involve luck to some degree. Chess, however, is the only game that is based 100 percent on the skill”, Namboodiripad added.