By Renee Larr
Fishers resident Nikhil Datar has played chess for approximately three years. In that short amount of time, he has advanced his level of play and participated in numerous local, state and national tournaments.
“He started playing chess in elementary school with the chess club. He joined the club for a little while but then he didn’t pursue it until he was at Sand Creek Intermediate,” said Ranjani Datar, Nikhil’s mother. “He joined the chess club there. He found out he was really good at it.”
Nikhil will be a freshman at Hamilton Southeastern High School in the fall. Because there is no chess club through the school, he finds other ways to play.
“He plays chess online, and recently we got him a coach that he meets with twice a month. He has some friends that play, so sometimes he gets together with them. When he can, he plays with a chess club in Castleton called Deadwood Chess Club,” Ranjani said.
Nikhil often plays against adults as well as people his own age, traveling the U.S. for tournaments. He recently won first place at the 2017 Scholastic Chess of Indiana Individual State Finals. The win allows him to participate in the invitation-only 2017 Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions July 29-Aug. 1 in Norfolk, Va.
“What he is hoping for is that he goes in to this tournament and comes out with a higher ranking than before. He hopes to gain as many rating points as he can,” Ranjani said. “Usually, you do that by beating people who are rated higher than you.”
He also plays soccer, the violin and the piano but spends most of his free time playing chess.
“He is just truly very passionate about playing chess. It’s something he truly enjoys,” Ranjani said.
For more, visit barberchess.com.