The Indian leg-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal is known for bamboozling most of the batsmen with his trademark googlies and cunning leg-spinners. Amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic which has put a grinding halt to all the sporting action around the world. But Chahal is not upset as he is keeping himself occupied by turning back the clock and enjoying some chess.
Chahal is headlining an online blitz event organized by Chess.com which commenced on Sunday and said the sport taught him to stay calm on the cricket field. He was the national Under-12 chess champion and even represented the country at the World Youth Chess Championships and is listed on the World Chess Federation (FIDE) website. His Elo rating is 1956.
In a freewheeling interaction with Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta and International Master Rakesh Kulkarni before the event got underway, Chahal said, “Chess taught me patience. In cricket, you may be bowling well but you may not get wickets. Like in a Test match you may have bowled well in a day but not got wickets but you have to come back the next day so you need to be patient. Chess has helped me a lot in that way. I have learned to be patient and get batsmen out.”
Asked about the decision to choose cricket after chess despite doing fairly well in the board game, Yzvendra Chahal, who has played 52 ODIs and 42 T20Is, said he did so because he had more interest in cricket.
Chahal matched his wits against the likes of prodigy R Praggnanandhaa, India’s second-youngest Grandmaster ever, GMs B Adhiban, Nihar Sarin and Karthikeyan Murali, among others. Chahalalos revealed that he had been spending time with family members.
The Indian leggie said he does follow chess whenever possible and plays online games at times. He described the wicket of South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis in the 2019 World Cup in England as one of his best. He said, “It was my first World Cup. I dismissed Faf, it was a big wicket in a big game.”
Yuzvendra Chahal said like in chess, there is a lot of planning a bowler does in cricket. He also said that he likes to discuss his strategy with the keeper about what he is going to bowl.
Chahal explained, “I do plan while bowling and discuss with the keeper. Like I used to tell Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) what I am likely to bowl.”