The Chess Village

Addiction always carries the baggage of lot of negative feelings with it. Somebody who can come out of any form of addiction should surely be a strong willed person. So is our man Mr C. Unnikrishnan.

Over 40 years ago, the villagers of a tiny village of Marottichal in Puthur Gram, Thrissur. were struggling to cope with the aftermath of their alcoholism. However not intentionally, C. Unnikrishnan was intensely fascinated by Bobby Fischer — the American who became the youngest chess Grandmaster at the at of 16. and started attending coaching classes to learn chess, then decided that the game was too special to remain a private pleasure; it needed to be popularized. He started giving free lessons at his home to villagers both young and old. Since then, he has trained over 600 people. Today, he runs a restaurant where people can come at any time and play chess.

So the playing of chess became a new addiction for these villagers and today, 90 percent of the residents of Marottichal are chess players. This passion cuts across gender and age — here men and women, children and grandparents all play intense games of chess against each other with equal fervour.

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