Akshay Sharma - Chess Coach
Akshay is probably our most fun chess coach. He relates to kids in a way that they just keep wanting him to come back even years afterwards. His stories seem to strike a cord with kids in a way they don't forget.
Why do you love Chess?
I love chess as I find it more than just a game, it helps me relax and learn about myself and how to handle adversity, how to think in long term goals and switch to immediate mode. There is a beauty to this game and symmetry which other games lack. Often I am able to relate situations on a chess to what happens in day to day life.
When/how did you first learn to play?
I knew how the pieces moved since I was 8 years old but I really started learning chess when I was 19 and ever since it keeps me busy and composed.
Why do you enjoy working with kids?
I always though that I missed my chance to start chess playing at an early age and so wanted to do my best for others to achieve things at an early age. Working with kids made me realize I could be responsible for so many other beyond myself, knowing that I can help them reach their full potential and make them feel happier about themselves. I get to see so many smiles each day and celebrate the little things.
What are your main Chess achievements?
My major chess achievements are winning U25 State Chess championship back in India in the year 2012 and 2013. I managed to beat a FideMaster in the year 2013. Finished 3rd in the NZ Major Open 2016 in the U1500 category despite missing the first round completely.
How do you think Chess helps kids?
I feel chess can help kinds really unlock their potential and thinking abilities, it provides a great help in improving concentration and academic performance as well. The game has endless possibilities and gives children a great place to be creative and helps their memory along with perception. Chess helps kids to learn to plan things from an early age and thereby provides a good foundation for being organized and set goals.