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  World   Europe  23 Apr 2018  Nine-year-old chess prodigy in visa row

Nine-year-old chess prodigy in visa row

Published : Apr 23, 2018, 2:16 am IST
Updated : Apr 23, 2018, 2:16 am IST

The family had moved to London from Bengaluru in 2012 when Shreyas was three years old.

(Representational image)
 (Representational image)

London: A nine-year-old chess prodigy from India is caught up in a battle to stay in the UK after his father’s work visa is set to expire.

 Shreyas Royal has won a series on chess championships and his parents, Jitendra and Anju Singh, are now appealing to the UK Home Office for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in Britain on the grounds that he is a national asset.


The family had moved to London from Bengaluru in 2012 when Shreyas was three years old.

“Shreyas’s life is here – he has roots. We are used to India, we spent a lot of our lives living there but it will be a massive shock for Shreyas. He will not be able to continue his chess, it really is a terrible situation,” father Jitendra told The Times.

The 38-year-old IT project manager with the Tata Group was offered a fixed-term contract in the company's UK office and on September 10 his work visa will lapse permanently.

With the backing of Julian Simpole, a trainer who has coached two of the English grandmasters, and Dominic Lawson, president of the English Chess Federation, the family have lodged their appeal with the Home Office.


“He pretty much wins every competition he’s in,” Simpole said, in reference to Shreyas who has been competing professionally for three years now.

“I’ve been coaching Shreyas for nine weeks now. I am amazed. He is so advanced I set him ‘Soviet-style toughness” lessons – as in no concessions made for his age. He virtually always gets the right answer,” he said.

“This kid is like something I've never seen before. His talent is very highly pronounced. He's going to be a future world champion and we'd like it to be for Britain,” the well-known coach added.

Shreyas, who attends Pointer School in Blackheath, south London, on a full scholarship, first learnt to play chess at an after-school club that his mother enrolled him in. “He was doing so much sport, swimming, tennis, but I wanted him to do something with his mind,” his 37-year-old mother said.


According to the newspaper, Shreyas now spends his weekends and summer holidays travelling across Britain and around the world competing against champions almost 10 years older than him.

Tags: chess, shreyas royal