A Tribute to Dads Who Showed Us the First Rules of Every Game

Fathers' Day 2021

“My mother played a bigger role in my chess career, but my father was an enthusiastic and fervent supporter. I remember fondly how he accompanied me to a world sub-junior, my three national titles, and later even to a world championship. He guided me well, both with his advice and by his example, and was by my side through all the highs and lows.”

GM Viswanathan Anand

There are many of us second or third-generation chess players out there. The first gurus for many chess parents today were their parents, primarily dads who spent their spare time teaching them chess moves and sneakily sliding invaluable life lessons. Learning chess from these towering role models early on in our lives is one of the most cherished memories for today’s dads.

The first call asking for our well-being or anything unusual happening around us is from our fathers. Fathers may not show their love in the way mothers do. But for many young girls and boys, before you could become your prince charming, the one person who played the role to perfection was and still is, your dad.

Modern dads have taken over the mantle ideally from their predecessors. Passing on the wisdom and knowledge they gained from their dads so effortlessly. The pressure to be the perfect role model has mounted over the years, but dads have truly made it. Dads today are active parenting partners rather than just being the financial support, taking sincere interest and stake in their kids’ overall development and progress.

But it was in the little details that life lessons kept flowing in. Most of the children have been introduced to the checkered 8×8 board by their fathers, father figures like uncles, or mothers. But since very few women were playing chess then, it’s easy to assume that they would have done an equally good job, but let’s keep our discussion to dads here. The biographies of renowned chess grandmasters prove this point. Most of them were introduced to the game by their

Some of these insights that got handed over while learning chess from our dads on those balmy summer afternoons and cold winter nights-

Patience pays – always!

Patience is a virtue that most dads have in abundance. Even if moms tend to lose their cool more often, dads have been known to have a bucketful of it. From teaching how to ride a bike, throwing a curveball, or chess moves, dads have always been around to patiently listen to our woes and advice us to have more patience!

Substitute hard work with smart work

Today’s dads have not shied away from their responsibilities as primary caregivers. The internet has countless videos of dads taking over diapering, feeding, and house-husbands, not even a term for dads who prefer to call themselves stay-at-home dads. The videos may look funny, but dads have their style of taking care of things and making everything alright. Before I go all mush, let me say that dads have added their own adorable twist to the traditional ways of home and child care. Working hard is still necessary, but a dash of clever and we have a winner, just like chess!

Count your risks before you move further

A man could be as much of a risk-taker walking on the edge of the world, but the moment fatherhood comes into the picture, the very same person transforms into a “safety first” for his family. This kind of prophylactic thinking almost always makes the player a winner in a chess game if anyone does it the best, its fathers, who not just practice it, but also preach it well to their kids!

It’s not over till it’s over

Mastering the barre or having made to sit out through a baseball game, dads have provided equal, if not more, support to their younger versions as moms. They are the first people we would like to rush to. Their arms and hearts always open to take in our failures and give us that much-needed pat on the back- it’s only over when we want it to be. Another nudge, another push in the direction of our goal, is done to perfection by most fathers, and the future generations shall be eternally grateful for the same.

Develop as quickly as possible

You don’t necessarily have to be the best in what you love doing, but being the first person to rock it would certainly take you far. Much like how developing the pieces early on in a game of chess could be a gamechanger, our fathers have made sure we have everything that we need to develop our “A” game in whatever we choose to do.

Look beyond the obvious and create opportunities

Many of us were motivated to look beyond academics and take up some kind of sport by our dads. They play the perfect role of a mentor till we have some more of them – like our teachers, coaches, and peers. Fathers help us explore around while making sure we have a plan B ready at all times.


“The main thing that my wife and I have tried to do is to not to put any obstacles in his way. Not do anything damaging to his interest and passion for chess. We have, of course, allowed him to play a lot of tournaments, but it has always been his passion, interest, and initiatives that have driven his chess. Our role has not been to make him a star. Our role has been to not stop him from becoming a star if he wants to.”

Henrik Carlsen on raising Magnus Carlsen


Whatever we have felt for our dads- respect, awe, gratitude, love, falls short of the love they have for us. A father’s love may be hard to define, but their way of keeping us centered, grounded, and secure at all times gives wind to our wings. We know that whatever happens, one person will drop everything they are doing and come and support us in a way that may not be apparent many times but is always there- making sure we are taking on the world the way we want to.

Some of us in the CHESS KLUB community who were lucky to have played chess with our fathers and grandfathers know that the centuries-old game always was an insightful lesson on how to understand the value of patience, persistence, and perseverance. Time stops when you are playing a game of chess with your dad.

The only player who would be so happy watching you win and losing to you on the chessboard would be your father. When you are present in the moment with the man who has the grandest presence in your life, and you can see a reflection of your dad in the mirror every morning. You know that he always has your back, his teachings and learnings are with you, and every moment spent playing chess together becomes a precious memory, to be relived again and again.

Fathers are our first step to understanding the world that exists beyond the warm cocoon of our family. They teach us where and how to find opportunities where none exist, which strategy is our winning bet, and what will just be a waste of time. Learning chess from our dads has been one of the best-relived memories for many of us here at the CHESS KLUB COMMUNITY.

Here’s to our first chess coaches- Fathers, who made us what we are today.