19-01-2018 10:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Marottichal is the chess village of India
Chess is a very popular game played by millions worldwide. It is a mindgame and requires mental training and strategic thinking. It has been scientifically proved that champions in the game have above average IQs. Nowadays, you can play chess online with friends, challenge the computer, join a club, solve puzzles, analyze your games, and learn from hundreds of video lessons. You can also watch top players and compete for prizes in this ancient game which is believed to have originated in Eastern India.
The game of chess is gaining popularity over the years in India. Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand is a source of inspiration for many and majority of students take up chess as indoor games in school. You will be surprised to know that there is a village in Kerala where nearly 90% of its population play chess. The reason why people started playing chess in this quaint village is very unique.
Marottichal is a quiet, peaceful, sleepy village with a population of 9000 in Thrissur district of Kerala. Half a century ago, life here had become miserable due to people’s addiction to liquor. Liquor was locally made and one would see the villagers either engaged in brewing it or engrossed in drinking it. There was trouble in almost all families due to the drinking habit of its members. The sufferings would reach such an extent that the villagers would call the excise officials to raid the village.
During that time, a young man, C.Unnikrishnan got inspired by the young American Grandmaster Bobby Fisher to play chess. Soon, he got hooked to the game and started learning the Chess moves. His profound interest in the game led him to teach others to play the game of chess. He started giving free lessons and gradually the villagers too started taking a liking to the game.
Unnikrishnan currently owns a restaurant in the village and at the same time continues to teach and play chess. He has trained over 700 people in chess and has built a shed where players from age 8 years to 80 years come and hone their skills in the game.
It is a miracle that a game could eventually wean off the drinking addiction of the villagers. Not only men, even the women folks and children play the game with equal zeal. This village came to the attention of five times World Chess Champion, Vishwanathan Anand who praised the villagers.
The amusing story of Marottichal where drunkards turned into Chess players just goes to prove that any suffering or for that matter, addiction can be overcome by keeping the mind engaged in a hobby or a game. It is all about control of the mind and guiding it in the right direction. Even bigger issues can be resolved if we have the will and determination to overcome them.