Meet the Players: Arnav Kapadia!

Hi! I’m Arnav Kapadia, a grade 9 student at Rocky Lake Junior High. I have been playing chess for four years. I have played many tournaments and have enjoyed playing chess with players from many countries and at various levels.

Currently, I am ranked 11th out of 146 players in Nova Scotia, with a CMA rating of 1127. My most memorable chess tournament or “chess experience” was a Statewide Chess Championship I played in the USA. It was my first regional level tournament and I was able to make good use of my learnings to secure 8.5/10 points. I was placed second in the tournament in my category and got a special invitation to participate in a National chess camp. It was a great experience to play and learn from other players and it got me interested further in chess and learning various aspects of the game.

In addition to playing chess, I help volunteer for the NSSCA tournaments, and I have also volunteered in teaching young children the game of chess.

Tell us about your journey into becoming a chess player. Was it a particular individual who inspired you or was chess something you found yourself?

My chess journey started when my parents introduced me to Chess in the Summer of 2016 during a family game night we had. I played a few games against my parents and soon found chess to be a very fascinating game.

When my parents saw me taking a keen interest in chess, they decided to enroll me in a local chess class. Since then, I have been playing and learning chess regularly. Another moment that inspired me was meeting Phiona Mutesi, Uganda’s chess champion. She learnt to play chess and became a leading chess player despite her circumstances. Her life story is depicted in the movie, “Queen of Katwe.”

What is your favorite part of chess? Creating solid pawn structures? Finding checkmates against the enemy king? Figuring out complex endgame tactics?

As such, I like everything about the game of chess! But if I have to choose one aspect that I enjoy the most, I will say it’s the calculation and tactics during the game. There is so much to look at in chess and learn. Every game is unique and with so many possibilities, you can always learn something new in every game!

Who is your favourite chess player, and why?

My favourite chess player is Hikaru Nakamura. What I really admire is his aggressive style of play and that he always finds ways to thwart his opponents’ plans and find positional advantages.

What is your favourite part about the NSSCA tournaments and events? Is it the competition? Or is it perhaps seeing your friends and socializing at tournaments?

Besides participating in the tournament, I enjoy meeting other chess players and interacting with them. I also like to explore NSSCA game venues as most of them take place (before COVID) at prominent places in Halifax. Another part I like is the annual ChessFest where I can play fun variants of chess, such as Simuls, Blitz, Bughouse and also classical chess.

Do you have a favorite chess opening? If so, which one is your favorite and why?

I have learnt and I’m still learning many openings in Chess, but if I have to choose one, my favourite is the Queen’s Pawn Opening. It’s one of the few openings I have learned in the beginning and it has so many interesting variations I can choose from.

How far would you like to go in chess? Do you want to become a chess master or do you see yourself simply playing casually for fun?

Chess is a hobby that I really enjoy! I really like playing and interacting with other fellow chess players. I want to continue learning more about the game, and I want to play chess for a long, long time!

Improving at chess can be difficult! Are there any things you do at home or with others that has helped you improve your chess skills?

Thinking about chess is the easy part, but putting effort and practicing is the not-so-easy part. I usually allocate some time daily for chess practice. I generally do lessons on, play with other people and the computer, and learn and solve puzzles and tactics. Also, Coach Chris has helped me a lot in learning and improving my games in Chess.

How has playing the game of chess impacted other areas of your life?

Playing chess has helped me think more logically and realistically. I also learnt to be analytical and calculate further ahead in both Chess and other aspects of my life. Chess has also improved memorization and mathematical skills which come in handy in important parts of life, such as school. Overall, Chess is a great part of my life!

Besides chess, what other sports or activities do you do?

Besides playing chess, I enjoy a variety of activities like playing basketball, biking and ice skating. I’m also part of a badminton club. I am also interested in music and I play piano, guitar and I also play trumpet in my school band. Besides these, sketching, painting and designing machines are other hobbies I enjoy too.

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