Academy (MCA), a not-for-profit initiative, has been set up as a joint initiative
between Grand Master Viswanathan Anand and NIIT Ltd. The objective of the Academy
is to promote Chess in schools and enable the development of young minds. The goal
is also to help students think logically and improve their analytical skills.
Academy has introduced Chess to thousands of school children across rural India.
From institutions nestled in the higher reaches of the Himalayas, to those dotting
the southern tip of the country, schools across India now have students learning
in 2002, the Academy has fostered over 16,600 Chess clubs in India, with over 1.5
Million students as members. GM Viswanathan Anand has personally travelled to Agartala,
Guwahati, Hyderbad, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jaipur, Patna, Raipur, Chennai,
Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and other cities in India, spreading the message of Chess
and motivating school students to take up the sport. The NIIT Mind Champions’ Academy
conducts an Annual Event around the months of December and January, known as the
ChessMaster, for schools in the NIIT network. As part of the Academy’s offerings,
NIIT provides every school an MCA login to its Website. The MCA site consists of
Computer-Based Tutorials (CBT) that help students to learn the game and features
Chess software, that allows them to play with the computer. There are validated
Web links that provide information about famous players; tips and useful tactics
that can win matches; and software that enables children to play Chess games over
the Internet. The MCA site has also made available a Process manual on how to form
a Chess club, with a full description of its necessary functionalities and responsibilities.
Finally, there are Chess puzzles which help children analyse various moves. NIIT
MindChampions’ Academy exposes students in the age group of 7-17 years to the world
of Chess. The initiative encompasses the formation of Chess clubs in schools, Chess
coaching, and Chess matches. The MCA is helping shape young minds, improve their
concentration levels, and making a positive impact on their behavior and academic
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MCA highlights and success stories
● NIIT sponsored
Karthikeyan M., (a 2006 MCA champion from the South), for the All India Chess Finals
at Ahmedabad in August 2008, besides other competitions to improve his FIDE rating.
His current rating is 1780 and he stands 40th out of the 210 participants at the
national level. Karthikeyan recently became the National Champion in the Under-11
category at the National Under-11 Chess Championship. He has also been selected
to represent India for the forthcoming World and Asian Chess Championships.
● Apart from Karthikeyan from Tamil Nadu, several other MCA contest winners have
earned laurels at the national level. There is Dhanasree from the NES School, Mumbai,
who is an Asian, National and State level player. Deepak Thakur from Hamirpur, Himachal
Pradesh has also begun his career outside MCA with a third rank in the Hamirpur
● Adeeth from Coimbatore has secured a first position in the district-level matches.
Pravat Kharande from Mumbai has won the first prize in the Inter-school Knockout
Chess Championship, the second Prize in the Kings Chess Academy Award, and was ranked
first in an Inter-school competition.
● Gurleen Kaur, a class 6 student from Indore has secured a fourth rank in the Inter-school
tournament at Indore. South Zone champion Gautham has an international rating of
● Viswanathan Anand plays Chess regularly with students and teachers of various
schools in different parts of India.
● The interactive online Chess sessions led by Anand over the NIIT Imperia platform,
have enabled 400 school children to receive coaching by the Grandmaster.
● Schools can connect with the MCA online. All schools, on
registering at the MCA site, are provided with a login ID and password. Path: niit.com
-> schools -> mind champions academy. This allows both public and private
schools, even those located in the remote parts of India where NIIT is conducting
ICT training—to enroll for the ChessMaster Tournament.
● The MCA Clubs are run by the teachers of the schools that host them. These faculty
members have been trained to play Chess, and are further teaching the game to the
● Children play Chess throughout the academic year, from March to February. Several
lakhs of matches are played by the children during this period.
● All students who manage to play 50 matches and solve 25 puzzles are eligible to
participate in the ChessMaster title.
● The winners of the tournaments at the school level qualify for the district round.
The top three district winners play among each other and solve 10 puzzles to qualify
for the next round.
● Similarly matches take place at the state, zone and national levels. Puzzle rounds
are applicable at all levels.
● This year, the Government school winner and the ICS winner will meet each other
in the finals, which will be held at the end of December, 2010 at Ahmedabad.
● The MCA therefore, is a year-long activity that begins with a summer camp in March
and closes with the MCA ChessMaster 2010 finals in February.
Impact of Chess Study
● A research
is currently underway in 30 rural and urban schools, under the guidance of the Foundation
for Learning Research in Chess, an organisation based out of Chennai, Bangalore
and Delhi. The purpose of this study is to understand the impact that learning Chess
has on school children.
Club members speak
● In response
to an online survey, over 8,000 children have mentioned that Chess has helped them
to perform better in subjects such as Science and Mathematics and that they have
learnt to be patient. Today, many school children are playing Chess before school
hours, during break time and sometimes even after school. This survey form is available
online and open to club members. They can fill up the form and talk about how they
have benefited by learning Chess.