Dear Reader - It seems strange that I am writing this column about RRS - It will take time but I will try to make a story of it that will gradually unfold before you and make for some interesting reading.
1954 - 1964 - It would perhaps be best to describe the events in my life in serial order at least from the points in time that I had some kind of contact with the game of chess - I was born around 0420 hours on 17th September in 1954 at Madras and grew up quite blissfully unaware of the game of chess for many years - My memory goes back to events when I was only 4 to 5 years old and I clearly remember that I knew absolutely nothing about the game of chess till 1967.
1964 - 1970 - It was perhaps in 1964 that I got a gift , a set of board games - I picked up the games of Ludo , Snakes and ladders , Trade and finally came to the chess board and coins - A bit puzzled , I asked my uncle about the game and he remarked that the movements of the knight in particular were too tricky to be mastered by lesser mortals and that only the Russians knew how to do that well - Taken aback and taking it to be indeed the case I decided to skip it - So much so that in 1969 I was right in Bangalore where the National-B chess championship was held but I was quite oblivious to the goings on.
1973-May-Ahmedabad-India-RRS played for Tamil Nadu in his very first year of competitive play by scoring 2nd place in the Tamil Nadu National-B selection points system based on TN state events held during 1972-1973 - Ended up in a tie for 7th to 17th places on 9.5/15 and narrowly missed qualifying for the National-A as only the top 14 were qualified - Thus he was the top performer for TN in the state contingent there.
1973-December -RRS won the National Junior (Under-20) for the first time at St.Stephen's College , New Delhi - He scored over V.Sivakumar of Pondicherry (eldest of the famous trio of brothers playing competitive chess and now with SBI) in round-1 , Avinash Awate (then already a National-A senior player from IIT Bombay) in round-2 , V.Ravichandran (2nd of the famous trio of brothers playing competitive chess and then with SBT) in round-3 , Dilip Das of West Bengal (who was in organising end at Calcutta events) in round-4 , Mohanty of Orissa in round-5 and over M.Ramesh of Madras in round-6 - With a clear lead on 6/6 and nearest rivals on 4.5/6 he had won the event with one round to spare but RRS went on to win the last round too over Ashok Alexander (the Delhi champion nickname "chokey" as he would strangle his opponents (only chess!) in a positional death grip. Son of P.C.Alexander who held several senior positions and was very close to the late Indira Gandhi. In recent times "Chokey" is in the top circles of Bill Gates Aids Foundation) RRS thus ended up with a clean score of 7/7
August -1974- Manila-Philippines-Finished 16th in a field of 33 participants representing India in the 13th World Junior Chess championship - RRS scored 4/7 in the preliminary qualifying swiss and 4/5/9 in group-B - RRS was the first player from India to play in the world junior events as India had gone unrepresented in all the previous 12 years.
RRS won the National Junior (Under-20) for the 2nd time at Bangalore in a keenly contested event of 7 rounds during December 1974 - He drew with Pravin Thipsay (Maharashtra) and T.N.Parameswaran (Tamil Nadu) while his wins came over S.C.Sahu of Orissa , Anup Chib of Delhi , V.Ravichandran of Pondicherry , Shyamal Dutta of West Bengal and S.G.Sant of Maharashtra - He went on to win the National-B held for seniors at Patna in mid 1975 with 11.5/15 - The year 1974 December to 1975 December proved to be a favourable one as towards the end of 1975 RRS also capped it by winning the National-A senior event also held at Patna with 11.5/16 - These results caused the senior editor Jacob to comment in the evening newspaper " The Mail " at Madras thus : Ravi Sekhar's finest hour , winning the National Junior , the National - B and now the National-A - For these performances RRS was voted "the best Tamil Nadu Sportsman 1975" by the Tamil Nadu Sports Journalists Association in a function at Madras towards the end of 1975 - Around the same time he was also voted "the best junior sportsman of India" by the Bombay Sports Journalists Association in a function at Bombay
Major results achieved by RRS in chronological order from 1973
1973 - won the IIT staff club event in a 7 rounds swiss with + 5 = 2 at Madras in early 1973
1973 - won the National Junior event in a 7 rounds swiss with + 7 at Delhi in December 1973
1974 - won the IIT staff club event in a 7 rounds swiss at Madras in early 1974
1974 - represented India in the 13th world junior event finishing 16th in a field of 33 players at Manila , Philippines in August 1974
1974 - Scored well playing as a member of the Tamil Nadu state team on third board with the team emerging as winner in the 1st Southern Zone Team Championship held at Chingleput , Madras during September 1974
1975 - Won the Mappillai Vinayagar event at Madurai in late 1975 in a 9 rounds swiss with a score of + 7 = 1 - 1
1976 - won the Tamil Nadu State Championship at Rajapalayam in mid 1976 in a 10 rounds swiss with a score of + 8 =1 - 1
1977 - won the Tamil Nadu State Championship at the Income Tax Recreation club , Madras in mid 1977 in a 10 rounds swiss with a clean score of + 9 =1
1978 - won the Tamil Nadu State Championship at the Agricultural University Coimbatore in late 1978 in a 10 rounds swiss with a score of + 9 -1