Story of how how 6 Rivals Turned Friends are Democratizing Chess Education All Across the Globe
This is the story of 6 childhood friends Abhijith, Adesh, Manu, Athul, Arijith, Chandar who met each other during an under 7 Kerala state chess tournament.
This is the story of 6 childhood friends Abhijith, Adesh, Manu, Athul, Arijith, Chandar who met each other during an under 7 Kerala state chess tournament. Initially they were fierce rivals on the chess board but slowly that rivalry turned into a beautiful friendship that has been going strong for the past 15 years. All these 6 friends ended up representing India in various International events and are also state champions.
After school, they got split into different states of the country for college (SRCC Delhi, Loyola Chennai, IISER Mohali etc) but they met at least once everyyear where they spent hours talking about their common love- chess. Abhjith has also worked for a short period at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland
When the covid 19 pandemic hit, they were having a random zoom call where one of them said that his neighbour who had a kid of 9 years was telling him that her child is facing attention span issues and is also lacking focus, concentration, memory, patience etc and interestingly when all the other 5 friends spoke to their relatives, friends and family who had children between 5 to 15 years of age, they noticed a common pattern that almost all the parents were facing this problem. Then it struck them that CHESS could be introduced as a solution to these problems as chess is scientifically proven to develop cognitive abilities- memory, concentration, focus, attention span etc.
Initially they started teaching a couple of students but in 3 months they started getting such super amazing feedback from parents- that they were able to see the silent revolutionary transformation in their child. This gave them the confidence to scale and they started sharing about their work among friends and family groups. And in the next 3 months, they started getting enquiries to that extent that they were not able to handle everything themself along with their college work.
Eight Times Eight was born on Oct 2020 as a dream project to popularize chess and thereby to advance the life skills of children using chess education. Initially all the co founders worked part time along with their college from Oct 2020 to September 2021. All of them moved into their office full time from September 2021.
Chess has an intellectual image and most people see it as a game played only by smart and intelligent people. The team at Eight Times Eight wants to debunk this myth and show the world that actually it is the other way round- Chess makes you smart.
They slowly started using the chess network that they had built over the last 15 years and recruited tutors from different parts of the world who speak different languages and trained them to give online lessons. In a short span of 1.5 years, the team had expanded their operations to 20+ countries. Then they realized that technology is an integral part in order to scale and onboarded their CTO Pramod Krishna who is a data scientist by profession. They also onboarded their chess mentor Grand Master SL Narayanan who is current India no 4 in chess.
In December 2021. they raised a pre seed funding of 5 million from 2 angel investors and have been using the funds to develop their tech product and are also launching their 'Chess Kit' soon.They are also planning to switch to hybrid mode.
Eight Times Eight is already the biggest chess company in Kerala, all credits to the domain expertise of the 6 friends and are now eyeing global expansion. As someone rightly said- When your passion becomes your profession, your workstation becomes your playground.
They believe that the work is not even 1% done and have a long way to go before they could make their dream come true- Make chess a household game.
Best Regards, Abhijith CEO Eight Times Eight
Abhijith. He is currently working as the CEO at Eight Times Eight
Company website link- www.eighttimeseight.com
Linkedin profile of CEO- https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhijith-m-04b306109/
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