Last week, the boy from Napeansea Road created history by winning the Under-7 crown at the World School Chess Championship in Juiz de Fora, Brazil.
Talk to Dev about chess, and his eyes light up. Jet-lag is not an issue. "It's fun. You have to think a lot. I have been passionate about it since I was four. I pay close attention to the starting game because if you make a mistake there, it shows as the game goes on." says the sleep-deprived Std II student who looks very much at ease in his new Brazil shirt.
What's it with chess players and memory? "He can play blindfold at seven. Chess has clearly helped him in his studies and extra-curricular activities," says the proud father. It's no surprise that the Std II student loves mathematics. "He knows cricket statistics inside out. He will tell you how much Rohit Sharma has scored."
Dev Shah, who took to the sport at four and trains at the South Mumbai Chess Academy on weekdays, enjoys cricket on the weekends. DV Ganesh, who heads the academy located in Walkeshwar, is Dev's personal coach.
"He has the passion and knack for playing a sport where one has to sit down in the front of the board and think for hours together. You know how kids his age are. They lose patience. When Dev and I sit in the living room to practise, it's just the two of us. He gets into the 'zone' every time he sees a chess board," says Ganesh, who coaches Shah five times a week. Each session — hold your breath — last four to six hours.
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