Anurag Mhamal, who became the first Grandmaster from Goa and 48th Grandmaster overall in India after crossing the 2500 Elo Rating during the 37th Benasque International Open Chess Championship in Spain was given a rousing welcome on his arrival at the Dabolim airport on Monday evening.

Anurag, who is Dempo Goodwill Ambassador, was welcomed by CSR Head Dr. Krishna Gopal Rajanala, General Manager (HR) and Mr. Rajiv Kulkarni of the Dempo corporate group, executive director of Sports Authority of Goa V M Prabhudessai on his arrival at the airport along with Goa Chess Association secretary and All Indian Chess Federation treasurer Kishor Bandekar, coach Akash Thakur, Vasant Naik, Akash Keni besides the members of Goa Chess Association and Mormugao Taluka Chess Association.

The parents of Anurag – Arvind Mhamal and Bharati Mhamal were also enthusiastic to receive their son. Many of his fans, especially budding chess students from Mormugao and other parts of the state, were seen waiting to accord a warm welcome to the Goa’s first and India’s 48th Grandmaster.

Addressing the pressmen at the airport, Anurag said that he wanted to achieve the target of 2600 Elo Rating and that he would practise hard to achieve his next target in Chess Championship. “I would definitely achieve my next target of 2600 Elo Rating with the help of my coach Akash Thakur,” said Anurag. “The coaching guidance helped me a lot and I have increased my level,” he said and added that good coaching practice will definitely help him increase his motivation continuously. Anurag said that he would repay his teacher in the form of ‘Gurudakshina’ by clinching the world’s highest chess title ‘Super Grandmaster.’

I would like to thank my parents, Shrinivas Dempo, Goa Chess Association president Nilesh Cabral and its secretary Kishor Bandekar and Sports Authority of Goa for their constant support,” said Anurag. His mother Bharati Mhamal said, “Anurag becoming the first Grandmaster of Goa and 48th Grandmaster overall in India is the biggest achievement for Goa and Goans in particular. It is a proud moment for me and my family members as my son has achieved success in chess,” she said.

She further said, “I was hearing about chess in Goa since a long time, but there was no Grandmaster in the history of chess in Goa till date. I have now great expectations from my son and I am quite confident that Anurag will win the 2600 Elo Rating to become the Super Grandmaster.” Describing her pain, Bharati Mhamal said that her son has sacrificed a lot for chess due to which his studies were affected.

It was due to the efforts of Shrinivas Dempo that my son’s fortune changed,” she said and added that the credit of Anurag becoming the first Grandmaster from Goa and 48th Grandmaster overall in India goes to Dempo for his all-out help with regard to finance and also motivation.

Anurag Mhamal with Coach Akash Thakur

I would also not forget the Goa Chess Association for rendering their moral support to my son in achieving the biggest title in chess tournament,” Bharati Mhamal said.

Many youngsters from Vasco and different parts assembled to welcome Grandmaster Anurag Mhamal back to Goa after his heroic abroad. One of those who watched silently was Akash Thakur.

Akash Thakur is the man who has been coaching Anurag. Like a true chess master, he is a man of few words. He does not like to talk much but prefers Anurag to do the talking when he is sitting with the chess board.

Akash hails from Nagpur, Maharashtra and was one of those happy persons waiting to see Anurag on his return. Obviously, he was happy with what Anurag had achieved. And, he had this to say, “I was always confident of Anurag and will continue to be so. This is Anurag’s first big step forward. I am sure this is just the beginning of some fabulous years for him. I am confident he will one day be a super grandmaster.