October 2, 2014

Little moves of kindness!

How many of us have thought of doing something good for the world and making a difference in someone's life but never found the time for it? Here is a story of a 20-year-old passionate chess player Sahil Batra that will touch your hearts and inspire you! Sahil is not only contributing to the society in his own little way but in the process he is making use of his favourite game, chess, to make a difference! Read this beautiful story of unhindered kindness.

A heart touching story by Sahil Batra
I'm an ordinary but passionate chess player from Ludhiana, Punjab. My father taught me the moves of the game when I was eight-years-old but I actually developed a keen interest only a few years later . 
In the year 2011, when I was in 12th standard, one of my best friends, Chetan, told me that he had planned a visit to a special place and wanted me to come along with him. He took me to this orphanage home named Red Cross Bal Bhawan.
This was the first time that I had visited an orphanage. There were more than 70 children between the age group of two to twelve years old. We distributed refreshments and spent some time with them.

The Red Cross Bal Bhawan Orphanage school in Ludhiana

The environment inside the place was totally different from the outside world. Knowing that these kids have nobody in this world except their fellow orphanage friends and care taker really made me feel sad. Yet the surprising part was that they seemed to be happy with no worries and enjoying life to their heart’s content!
I felt so small that day. I realized my problems were nothing as compared to those orphaned children. It had become a habit for me to curse my situation even on facing little problems. I asked myself: Despite having everything in my life why do I feel unhappy and sad while on the other hand these kids had absolutely nothing yet they were happy, excited and full of joy?
From that day onwards, my perspective towards life changed.

Smile at your problems! say the kids holding the smiley balls in their hands.

After this, I started visiting the orphanage more often. Sometimes I would distribute clothes and sometimes refreshments. But just a month ago in August 2014, I observed that everyone who visited the orphanage would give some materialistic stuff to the kids which they had in surplus. As we saw this, it dawned on me and Chetan (my best friend) that eatables and other things give momentary happiness which fades away pretty soon. We had to give them something intangible that they could carry with them for the rest of their lives and which no one could steal from them. That’s when I decided that I had to share my knowledge with these kids. 
As a chess player I thought why not to teach them the basics of chess.

I asked the kids, “Who wants to play chess?" Approximately 40 out of the 70 raised their hand. I was quite surprised by the majority. A handful of them even knew how to play. It would be great fun to teach these bunch of enthusiastic kids, I said to myself. We got four mat chess boards and one wooden. Those who knew how to play opened it and started arranging the pieces.

The chess wave had started at the Red Cross Bal Bhavan!

I knew that I had to start from the scratch. So firstly I taught them to have the white square on the bottom right of their chess board. Next was how to arrange the pieces (black queen on black square and so on!) And then I moved on to the value of the pieces and how they move. By that time many of the little kids had had enough! Learning so many rules for a game was definitely not their cup of tea! But the wonderful part was that I still was surrounded by a dozen odd kids!

The wheat had been separated from the chaff! 

Abhishek, a twelve-year-old kid, showed tremendous interest! Almost every minute he had a doubt! His questions were genuine and filled with a thirst to learn the little nuances of the game. With every question that was being asked, I felt more and more confident about my decision of teaching these kids the game of chess!
As days passed by I started teaching them how to open the game with a central pawn, the necessity of development and the importance of king safety. With a basic proficiency level achieved in their game, I started pitting them against each other.

Little kids thoroughly engrossed in the world of 64 squares

All the kids tried to play their best. But there was one who was a cut above the rest. Abhishek (the boy who had asked me innumerable questions) played like a professional. Opening development, king safety, he was applying everything that I had taught them in the past few days. I was mesmerized by his grasping power.

Abhishek holding the knight in his hand! He knows the value of development!

He truly loves this game and takes his time to make a move. He makes sure that he isn’t blundering and places his pieces on good squares. I see a fantastic player in him and I am sure that he will soon surpass me.

The coach with his brightest pupil

The children now practice with a clock and I have started teaching them openings like Ruy Lopez, Sicilian, Caro Kann, Slav etc.

Teaching the tricks of the trade

Practicing with a digital clock

Sahil’s friend, Chetan, also teaches the kids

Being a chess player, if I had proper guidance and training when I was young, I would have made chess my career. These children are young and quick learners. My ambition is to provide them with a good level of training so that they can become winners at state and national level tournaments and can think about pursuing chess as their career.

Times of India recognizes Sahil's efforts

Sahil Batra is a 20-year-old chess player from India with a rating of1732. He is currently doing his final year in Bacher in Commerce (B.com). He describes himself as a passionate chess player. He loves to dance and he intends to do a MBA in future. He believes in the karma theory and feels that the ultimate purpose of life is "to give".


  1. Hats Off ..
    You have really done a commendable job.. Respect ++..
    Thanks You have Inspired me a lot :)

    but in the last para you said

    "Being a chess player, if I had proper guidance and training when I was young, I would have made chess my career. These children are young and quick learners......."

    Why can't you make a career in chess Now ? I am 21 yr old and a Final Year Engineering Student, and I started learning serious chess now.. and hopefully will make career in chess once i reach desired rating..

    :) good Luck !

  2. Good to see these things happening. Hats off to Sahil Batra :)

  3. Sahil my friend....ni luv u.man......proud to.hav u bro...

  4. superb work sahil !!!
    The coach with his brightest pupil-
    great !!!

  5. hey bro u mentioned in the article with ur game with aamir that u have notatons for the game between vishy and aamir..i tried searching internet but couldn't find ...where did u get it ?