An interesting interview with Devanshi Rathi, who started a special and unique Initiative “Project CheckMate” , read further to know her motivational story.
VID : Please Introduce yourself.
Devanshi : I am Devanshi Rathi from New Delhi,India. I am currently studying in grade 12 in Modern School, Vasant Vihar. I have been competing on the FIDE circuit for the past decade. I have participated in a variety of tournaments ranging from school level to the Commonwealth Championship, where I won the bronze medal. I have also been given the title of Arena International Master and Arena FIDE Master by FIDE. Besides playing, I have also written a lot on chess. I have written on a variety of online sites and maintain my own blogs. I have also published two books on chess.
VID : When and how did you think about your project Checkmate?
Devanshi : I thought about starting the project in 2015 but managed to get on with it only in April,2016. I was so occupied with the game all my life that I wanted to give back something to it. Besides, I was very motivated by these children and their enthusiasm for the game made me start this entire project. I think my mentor has to be Mr.Shailendra Yadav and the various heads at the National Association of the Blind who let me run this entire thing according to my vision.
VID : Introduce your Team.
Devanshi : At the moment, this entire project is being solely run by me. I have Mr.Yadav who helps me with the logistics and other stuff. However, I do plan to get more volunteers to help out in the future. I had already started a volunteer program in July, through which I had two-three volunteers also helping out.
VID : Explain more about Checkmate, what makes it special?
Devanshi : Checkmate is a one-of-a kind project that allows the children to use their minds and develop their skills by playing chess. By competing in a variety of tournaments and other events like Grandmaster simultaneous games and coaching camps, the exposure that these children get is far from anything in school. They are able to compete in the mainstream society and the gap between them and any normally sighted player is bridged.
VID : What challenges did you face while setting up Checkmate and how did you overcome?
Devanshi : I think the biggest challenge has been the acceptance of this project by the society. People have to understand that for these children chess is something that they truly love and it is a way forward for them. There are quite a few issues when they play in tournaments where there are fewer visually challenged players. The other problem that I face is that there is a shortage of funds for the project to grow. All the funding for it has been contributed through my fund-raisers and tournament victories. I believe that more people need to step up towards this cause and support these children to achieve their dreams. Personally , I felt that nothing could stop me from teaching them as I found them to be intellectually far more stronger than any of the other people in my community of the same age.
Challenges keep on coming your way but you need to face them with confidence and courage. Despite all these shortfalls I kept on going because I felt that I had a vision and to achieve my vision I had to keep on working despite all the odds. I kept on going with the flow and tried to take small steps with an aim to make that giant leap one day.
VID : What’s the Current Path, and Future plans?
Devanshi : Currently, I am working towards achieving more things in this project. I will be organizing a North Zone Championship for the Blind in October at the National Association of the Blind. There are also a number of other events like tournaments and lectures planned for these children. All the details of the project can be found on its website and its Facebook Page Here
“I think the Viral Indian Diary is a unique platform to get people with amazing feats to the core. I think that we need such websites to promote our causes and it is doing a great job with it. Kudos to the team.”
Thank you Devanshi for the interview and sharing your kind words about VID, We wish you all the very best with your amazing Initiative. God bless you!