Teenage sibling duo on a mission to promote Chess across India

Chess has always been a pride for each Indian. Over the years, the Indian Chess Community has produced many world-class players. The big revolution came with Viswanathan Anand winning the World Championship title in 2007 and retaining it for 5 years which inspired many upcoming players.

Just last week the Indian Chess Team were joint winners with Russia of the online Chess Olympiad organized by FIDE where 162 nations participated.

Over the last decade, the Chess scene in the country has taken a huge leap producing over 45 Grandmasters (GM), 8 Women Grandmasters (WGM) and more than 80 International Masters (IM)!.

India is considered to be a sea of young talents in Chess and Team ESM had the opportunity to talk to two such bright and passionate Chess players. 

Siblings Bhushita Ahuja & Bhavik Ahuja who are just 15 and 13 year old respectively have decided to take their passion for Chess and promote it to every corner of the nation. 

They are the founders of ‘Samveda Foundation’ which aims to ignite the fire of Chess among all Chess aficionados and celebrate the spirit of sports.

Samvedna Foundation has been endorsed by the sports minister of the country Shri Kiren Rijiju and prominent cricketer and MP, Shri Gautam Gambhir. Samvedna further has been sponsored by prominent firm such as ONGC and Ahujasons. 

Left to Right: Bhavik Ahuja, Gautam Gambhir, Bhushita Ahuja

During lockdown, they have been able to organise 8 online tournaments, An inspire talk by GM Prithu Gupta and two summer bootcamps. They are also working in collaboration with well-known NGOs like Sewa Bharti, Pratham & Katha. 

Samvedna Chess India Sports Minister
Online Chess | Photo: Team Samvedna

ESM, in conversation with Ms. Bhusita Ahuja takes you through the journey of the prodigious duo!

About Ms. Bhushita Ahuja and Bhavik Ajuha

Bhushita Ahuja is a 15 year old girl from Delhi. She studies in The Shri Ram School, Moulsari and is the Co-founder of Samvedna Foundation. She has been crowned as Delhi State U-17 Women Chess Champion and is an avid writer too. She’s written a book called ‘Open your wardrobe for answers’ which is based on clothing psychology. Bhushita is committed to social work and aspires to be a successful business lady. 

Bhavik Ahuja is a 13 year old boy from Delhi, also from the Shri Ram School. He too is the Co-founder of Samvedna. He is a titled player, having won a bronze in Commonwealth for the country. Bhavik enjoys all sports including basketball, cricket and table tennis. He is an academically bright student and loves to research and debate. 

Q1. Can you share what is Samvedna Foundation & what have your duties included in the organization? 

Samvedna Foundation started last year in September and was founded by Bhavik Ahuja (my brother) and me. Our vision is to take Chess to every nook and cranny of the country, teach kids coming from underprivileged backgrounds and help them grow by providing opportunities. Samvedna is not just any initiative, it is our inner feeling and desire to serve the society and give back to the very game that has made us into the individuals we are today. 

Samvedna Chess India Sports Minister
Q2. From playing Chess professionally to teaching? How did the transition take place? 

Playing and organizing are quite mutually exclusive aspects. While we played professionally in tournaments, we didn’t have any responsibilities on our shoulder- it was just our game that we had to focus on. However, now that we organise events and teach almost 300 underprivileged kids, we have major responsibilities to cater to. There is definitely more pressure and much  higher expectations.

This transition took place about 2 years back. We had to choose between academics and sports. At that point, everyone wanted us to focus on studies and so we left chess as a career possibility and this was by far the toughest decision we had to make. However, the passion for this sport was too deep to overcome and Samvedna was how we manifested it. 

Q3. Do you still pursue Chess as a professional career? How do you manage your coaching and work?

We still play Chess professionally and participate in tournaments however, we are currently not pursuing it as a career. It’s not possible to focus on both academics and sports- one has to make a choice. We had to pursue studies because everyone felt it was very important for our overall development. This decision is actually what led us to start Samvedna so that we don’t leave our passion behind and in fact take it to the next level by igniting it in others. 

Samvedna Chess India Sports Minister
Q4. What are the biggest challenges you have come across throughout your journey?

The biggest challenge we faced was managing academics with Samvedna. When we started, I was in my Board year and it was certainly not easy managing so many things together. Moreover, it was initially challenging to convince sponsors and other individuals that regardless of our age, we had the convincing and determination in us to execute our plans.

However, I guess where there is a will, there is always a way. I stopped wasting time on my phone/TV and I channelized my energies positively in the right direction. Making the best use of time and understanding priorities were some valuable things we learnt from this process. 

Q5. What’s your goal and vision for Samvedna Foundation in the coming years?

Currently, we are teaching 300 underprivileged kids from 7 states on a week basis. Our goal for this year is to reach 1000+ kids by December and moreover touch 15+ states as well as 5 countries. We want to help them grow as players and in the coming years, become the next grandmasters of the country. As far as tournaments are concerned, once the pandemic is over, we want to organize a FIDE ration event with over 500 participants. 

ESM highly appreciates Ms. Bhushita for giving this interview and wish her all the best with her work and future endeavors. To know more about Samvedna Foundation and their work – check out their website and Instagram page ( link below )

Website: www.samvednaonline.com

Instagram ID : @samvednachess

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