Revere chess player showing skills far beyond his years

by Sheldon Ocker

What was the first clue a chess prodigy was growing up in your Richfield home? That was the question posed to Kamala and Romesh Adury.

They are the parents of Revere High School junior Anant Adury, who is stockpiling chess awards faster than the Cleveland Browns stack up injured football players.

When Anant was 5 or 6, he began watching his brother Abhay, four years older, and his father Romesh play chess for fun. It didn’t take long before Anant was hooked, which was not the intention of his parents.

“We introduced him to chess to keep him engaged,” said his mother, “because you know how smart kids are – they get hyper. But by the time he got to sixth grade, we knew he had potential. He was catching up really fast with his brother.”

“Really fast” might be an understatement. Revere’s chess club advisor, Eugene Sawan, said Anant joined the chess club in fifth grade.

“The only reason I allowed it is because he showed such promise,” said Sawan, who added that the club normally is reserved for sixth- to 12th-grade students.

When Anant reached sixth grade, he was already on the varsity. Little more than two years later, Anant rose to the level of National Master, a significant achievement for a 33-year-old, let alone a 13-year-old kid.

There are three levels of achievement above National Master: FIDE (the international governing body) Master, International Master and at the pinnacle, Grand Master.

“I’ve played multiple Grand Masters, 12 or 13 times in various serious games,” Anant said. “I drew with five or six and got close to beating some of them.”

Said Sawan, “I’m a reasonably decent chess player, but I’m nowhere near Anant. He’s by far the best player we’ve ever had at Revere.’’

Anant said he has had three coaches but prefers now to be on his own. “I read a lot of [chess] books partially,” he said. “I would say I’ve looked at maybe 30.”

Lately, Anant hasn’t had much time to read about chess. Playing at high-level tournaments is his priority. He qualified for the World Youth Chess Championship in Montesilvano, Italy, last year and was named the U.S. Under-16 Team Official Representative.

Anant’s mother accompanied him to Italy.

“I was just feeling proud,” Kamala said. “It was a special moment for me that my child was playing.”

He has risen to the 16th best U-16 player in the nation and ranks among the top three percent of players in the world, regardless of age.

So what is Anant’s favorite part of chess? “That’s hard,” he said. “I like the creative aspect, analyzing the strategies and the vastness of the game.”

Anant knows that nobody can know everything about chess. There is virtually an endless combination of moves and tactics.

“There’s always so much more to learn about chess, so you’re never close to mastering the game,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any ceiling for me. I don’t know if there will be a time when I have to stop playing, but I hope I can keep dreaming.”

Kamala and Romesh have high hopes that their son keeps chess in perspective.

“We don’t need him to have a goal,” Kamala said. “Truly, from the bottom of our hearts, we want him to enjoy what he is doing. And we want to make sure that he doesn’t burn himself out by trying to reach goals that are unrealistic.” ∞

Photo: Anant Adury qualified for the World Youth Chess Championship in Montesilvano, Italy, last year. Photo by Sheldon Ocker.