You wouldn’t have thought that a steely game of chess and running a race could have much in common, but you’d be surprised. FirstRun caught up with internationally renowned chess player Tania Sachdev, whose long list of honors include several prestigious victories and the titles of International Master and Grandmaster. In 2005, she became the eighth Indian Woman Grandmaster, won the national Indian Women Championship the following two years, and also topped the Asian Chess Championship in 2008. Her success meant no one was surprised when she won the coveted Arjuna Award in 2009. Tania recently took up running and took some time off her busy schedule to tell us about it.

When did you first start running and what do you love most about it?
I actually had my first attempt at running with the Wings for Life World Run in 2014. I had never run before, and I loved the fact that running long distances requires a kind of stamina very similar to the patience demanded of a player in a long chess game.

What’s one of your favorite running memories?
My favorite running memory is from the Wings for Life Run. A very young kid overtook me in the race, and you had to see the beam on his face as he said, “Hey I beat you!”

How do you prepare before a race?
Again, it’s pretty much like mentally preparing for a long game. I prefer meditation and yoga before doing anything that requires patience and stamina.

What is your preferred running gear?
Tracks and a cotton t-shirt with very comfortable shoes and a cap to keep my head cool.

A spot of advice for those who have just started running.
It’s an amazing way of toning your body and your mind. Go for it!

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