Way back in 60s and 70s, a village in Kerela was not just into brewing liquor, they were badly addicted to it. In no time this became worst curse for the villagers. Village community realized that addiction to alcohol was leading to many other severe problems.
However, instead of being an easy prey to alcohol, the village chose to get over it. Thanks to their determination to get rid of alcohol they convinced excise officials to raid the village and put an end to alcohol brewing. To remove one curse, they happily embraced another addiction! No, you won’t be able to guess what!
To put an end to troubles that villagers were facing due to alcoholism and to cope up with even worse aftermaths, villagers embraced the game of chess.
All thanks to a man called C Unnikrishnan who was intensely fascinated by Bobby Fischer — the American who became the youngest chess Grandmaster at the age of 16.
After reading about Fischer in a magazine, he started devoting his time to coaching classes to learn chess. His enthusiasm didn’t stop there. He decided to popularise chess!
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.
Marottichal is now popularly known as a “chess village” because of its hundred per cent chess literacy!
In a 2012 article, Unnikrishnan told The Hindu, “Chess is my passion. Once I start playing, I forget everything. It’s kind of an addiction.”
Today, 90 per cent of the residents of Marottichal are chess players. Everyone, including men and women, children and grandparents together indulge in games of chess! They raise a toast with games of chess and not alcohol!
Puthur Gram Panchayat president Sreenivasan said, “Around 90 per cent of the villagers are chess players. The panchayat has undertaken a mission with an objective of announcing that the village is the first comprehensive chess literate village in the country. The village will be formally announced as the first chess village in August.”
Viswanathan Anand, Grandmaster and five time World Chess Champion, too congratulated the villagers’ effort “to create a rare distinction in the field of chess”.
Village’s dedication to chess found its place in cinema too, in 2013, this story was converted into Malayalam movie, August Club. Isn’t it amazing that villagers chose to replace their pegs of alcohol with a game of kings, queens, knights, rooks, pawns and bishops? This story is definitely worth inspiring!
courtesy citation : India Times