British Chess Champion U-11 Arul Gupta Knows Chess is Hard Work
Arul Gupta, 11, of Bromley Common, was just seven when he took up the game and was recently crowned the best under-11 player at the 99th annual British Chess Championships in North Shields.
The Eltham College student spends three to four hours a week honing his skills, playing older players in a bid to become a grandmaster. He said: “I started when I was seven. Picking up the rules wasn’t too hard but it takes time and effort to improve.
“There are players at my school that can challenge me, and even some that are better than me. But they are a lot older, I’m only in Year 7.” To become the under-11 champion, Arul defeated six of seven opponents and finished above 39 other competitors. Along with his new title, he took home £200 and an impressive trophy.
“The average time I take to finish a game is about four hours but I don’t struggle with my concentration,” he said. “The trophy I got is great and I think I’ll save the money I won.”
His ability to see the world in black and white was discovered at his school chess club rather than at home, though his parents are always at his side during big matches. Eltham College headmaster Paul Henderson says staff at the school have been “impressed” by Arul’s competitive streak. He added: “He showed real tenacity to clinch the British title this year.”
A future career in chess would seem to be on the cards, though Arul claims his skills on the board are matched by his musical ability. He said: “I really like playing music and can play piano, the trumpet and the saxophone. “I might have a difficult career choice to make when I leave school.”