NIIT MindChampions' Academy (MCA) - a not-for-profit initiative set up jointly by World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand and NIIT Ltd. with the objective of promoting Chess in schools - today reached the 10 year milestone in an extraordinary journey of developing young minds through Chess. Since its inception MCA has touched 1.5 million children in over 16,600 schools in India.
To commemorate the significant milestone Hon'ble Union Minister for Human Resource Development & Communications and IT, Mr. Kapil Sibal, felicitated national MCA Chess Masters since 2004 in the presence of NIIT MindChampion & World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand at a function held in the capital today. Mr. Rajendra S Pawar, Chairman, NIIT, leading academicians, principals of various schools, bureaucrats and members of NIIT were also present on the occasion.
The MCA Chess Masters felicitated at the event included- MCA National Champion (2006) and under-12 World Chess Champion with FIDE rating of 2329, Karthikeyan M; MCA National Champion (2005) Hemant Sharma, an international rated Chess player and champion at Delhi State Open Rapid and Open Blitz Chess Championships 2012; MCA West Zone (2008) winner Prabha Rajwade, a talented Chess player from the tribal belt of Chhattisgarh; MCA East Zone (2010) winner Bappi Deb, a FIDE 1742 rated player, who has secured leading position in the 2011 Senior State Chess Tournament, West Bengal and; MCA East Zone (2005) winner, Rajkumar Shrinjan Singha who is now a professional Chess player with a 1875 FIDE rating. These young champions are a few who could join today's celebrations, amongst many such talents who have been identified by NIIT over the decade, trained and fostered through MCA and are now winning laurels in the national and international arena.
A Joint initiative by NIIT and Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand - NIIT MindChampions' Academy was introduced in the year 2002 with the objective of initiating children into the world of Chess. The first Chess Master tournament was held in the year 2004. The phenomenal success of MindChampions' Academy has reiterated the fact that Chess has been a rewarding experience for students, helping them approach the academic problems in a more tactical and logical manner and improve their analytical skills.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Kapil Sibal, emphasised on how Chess positively impacts analytical and logical thinking in children, thus helping them excel in academics. Noting that numerous international and India specific studies had highlighted the role of Chess in developing young minds, he congratulated Anand, Mr. Pawar and his team for doing a commendable job in taking Chess to school children across India, through MCA.
Mr. Rajendra S Pawar, Chairman NIIT said, "NIIT MindChampions' Academy started 1.5 million students into Chess. These young minds have been identified from the grass root levels and honed and developed into promising talents through MCA."
"This is a proud moment for all of us and it gives me added pleasure that MCA's 10 years of eventful journey coincides with Vishy's 5th World Chess Championship win. We have been fortunate to have the wholehearted support and involvement of Vishy in this venture and together we hope to make the movement a bigger success," added Mr. Pawar.
To give impetus to this movement, MCA organizes the National Chess Master Tournament, which starts with school events, progresses through inter-school, inter-district & inter-state matches and finally, to the national level. Over the last 10 years MCA has organized 15,000 school level tournaments and 5000 district level tournaments. There have been eight annual Chess Masters since 2004 and eight national championships. Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand has personally travelled across the country, motivating school students to play the game of Chess.
NIIT MindChampion & World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand said, "The launch of MindChampions' Academy has been a significant milestone in my association with NIIT. I feel privileged to be part of this movement that has not only enabled schools to use Chess as an academic tool but has also made it possible for me, personally, to take the legacy of Chess to the children in India. It is heartening to note that this legacy is already beginning to show, with young players like Karthikeyan M who is the world champion in the under 12 category. There are many such young talents like him who make India proud and I am confident that they will script greater success stories in the years to come."
It is pertinent to note that the first ever comprehensive India specific study on impact of playing Chess, carried out by Foundation for Learning Research in Chess in 2010, has confirmed that there exists a strong correlation between the game of Chess and academic excellence. The report titled - 'Developing MindChampions through Chess' provides an in-depth account of the positive impact of the MindChampions' Academy clubs on 11,000 school children across India.
Over the years MCA has not only shaped young minds through Chess in schools but has also produced exceptional Chess players. NIIT sponsored Karthikeyan M, NIIT MCA champion, 2006 (South), for the All India Chess Finals at Ahmedabad in August, 2008 and other competitions to improve his FIDE rating. His current rating is 2329 and he is the reigning World Champion (in the under 12 years category), having won the Gold Medal at the World Youth Chess tournament in Brazil in 2011. Apart from Karthikeyan, MCA has also supported Dhanasree from the NES School, Mumbai, an Asian, national and state-level player. Deepak Thakur from Hamirpur, Himachal has started his career with a third rank in the Hamirpur District Championship. Adeeth from Coimbatore has secured the first position in district-level matches, While Tapan Chetia feels playing Chess enabled him to get the job in Assam police, Aditya Chakraborty (West Bengal), Maheswata Kumar (Assam) & Kothapalli Ramarao (AP), started their Chess careers with MCA and are now playing national and international level tournaments.
In yet another milestone in the journey of MCA, the Gujarat Chess Association and NIIT, under the expert guidance of GM Viswanathan Anand rolled out a record-breaking event in Ahmedabad on December 24, 2010, with a view to popularize Chess among school children in the state. The initiative created a new Guinness World Record-with 20,480 people playing simultaneous Chess. This broke the previous record set in Mexico City in 2006, where over 13,446 people had played simultaneous Chess.
Commenting on the significance of computers in education, Mr. Hemant Sethi, President, School Learning Solutions, NIIT said, "I am proud that our School Learning Division has redefined education and learning by reaching out to more than 10 million students through technology enabled teaching learning solutions. It however gives us an even greater sense of satisfaction to witness the way we have been able to infuse creativity in these children through MCA and Digital Art Festival through the platform of computers in education."
Notes to Editor
NIIT Limited, a leading Global Talent Development Corporation and Asia's premier IT trainer, offers learning and knowledge solutions across 38 countries. Leading IT journal Dataquest has conferred upon NIIT the 'Top IT Training Company' award successively for the past 19 years, since the inception of this category.
NIIT's Individual Learning Business offerings include industry-endorsed programs for students seeking careers in IT - GNIIT and Edgeineers, and Global Net Plus for IT professionals. The company has introduced "India's first cloud campus", through its new-age GNIIT program. This offers students a higher mobility as they can access courseware using Netbooks and data cards that connect seamlessly to NIIT's Cloud Campus network.
NIIT's Corporate Learning Solutions offers Managed Training Services including integrated learning solutions (strategic consulting, learning design, content development, delivery, technology, assessment and learning management) to Fortune 500 companies, Universities, Technology companies, Training corporations and Publishing houses.
NIIT Yuva Jyoti, a joint venture between NIIT and NSDC, offers vocational skills training programs to enhance employability of youth across India.
NIIT Imperia - Centre for Advanced Learning, offers Executive Learning Programs in association with leading Business schools in India, KPMG, Google India and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), using the synchronous learning platform.
NIIT Institute of Finance Banking & Insurance (IFBI), formed by NIIT with equity participation from ICICI Bank, offers programs for individuals and corporates in Banking, Financial Services and Insurance.
NIIT Institute of Process Excellence Limited, a NIIT-GENPACT venture, addresses the increasing demand for skilled workers in the business and technology services industry by providing training programs in relevant areas.
NIIT has provided computer-based learning to over 15,000 government and private schools. The futuristic NIIT NGuru range of learning solutions for schools comprises Interactive Classrooms, Math Lab, IT Wizard programs and Quick School (Education Resource Planning software).
NIIT has been ranked among the 'Top 25 Best Employers in India- 2011' by Aon Hewitt and 'Top 25 India's Best Companies to Work for' by Great Places to Work Institute. The company has also been voted the second most trusted education brand in India by Brand Equity- Nielsen Survey 2011.