The past performance might not guarantee success in the present, but Himal doesn't mind taking a walk down the memory lane, to get that thrust and motivation to push harder. "In the last two tournaments, I played against lots of international masters and grandmasters and managed to drew and even beat some of them. It gives me lots of courage. There is still much to be done and many more goals to achieve," added Himal, a student of SD College, Sector 32. Himal drew with two Grandmasters, Deepan Chakraborty of India and Grandmaster Stupak Kirill of Belarus, and needed a win against International Master C Parveen Kumar to get the IM norm in the last round. He also won't mind taking another look at the trophies that he won in the past: the All India Open Chess Championship that he won in Shimla in 2008, the runners up trophy from the All India Open Championship held at Kota.

Born to win

While still at school, it was during a summer vacation at his ancestral home in Dehradun where Himal first tried his hands at chess, with his uncle at the other side of the chess board. While he was still young to master the game, he did come close to doing that during a chess tournament at the school level in 2002, where Himal finished runners-up in his age category in his first attempt.

With no formal training, his father, Pushpinder Gusain, took Himal to participate in the Under-9 category in the nationals held at Lucknow. The tournament was a reality check for the son-father duo as Himal managed to garner 3and half points to finish at 122 out of 140 players.

"That was when I understood he needed proper training. Though sometimes I also indulged in the game, I knew he needed better coaching to polish his skills," shared his father. From Abhinandan Vohra to DS Negi to GB Joshi, help and coaching came from all directions, that further kept Himal pushing towards north.

... contd.

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