Shreyas Royal - Chess Prodigy

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  • Shreyas Royal - Chess Prodigy

    Shreyas Royal - Chess Prodigy

    August 10, 2018

    From the Guardian today:

    Nine-year-old chess prodigy told he can stay in UK

    Shreyas Royal has been described by Chris Ward, a chess grandmaster, as ‘the best prospect the country has ever seen’.

    A nine-year-old chess prodigy has been told he does not have to leave the UK when his father’s work visa expires, a move that has been welcomed by MPs and chess organisations in Britain.

    Shreyas Royal has lived in the UK since he was three but was told he would be sent back to India when the work visa expires in September.

    On Friday, his father, Jitendra Singh, said he had received an email that morning, informing him of the Home Office’s change of mind.

    “They just emailed me and told me they had considered my case and we are allowed to extend our leave to remain on tier 2 general route,” Singh said.

    “We are very happy and Shreyas is very happy. He jumped up on the sofa when he heard the news. I want to thank all those who helped and supported us ... I would also like to thank the Home Office and the home secretary who considered our case.”

    Shreyas, nicknamed Shrez, started playing chess at six, eventually becoming the world’s youngest “candidate master”. In August 2017 he was ranked joint fourth in his age group at the World Cadets Chess Championships in Brazil. In his short time playing he has won multiple awards.

    Shreyas’s parents, Jitendra and Anju Singh, moved to south-east London from India in 2012. They have been staying under a tier 2 long-term work permit, but were recently told that the only way they could stay would be for Jitendra Singh to renew his visa. To do so he had to earn more than £120,000 a year.

    The couple appealed to the Home Office on the grounds that their son was a national asset, but received a letter earlier in the month saying that while he showed “immense promise” it did not mean he could remain in the country.

    The decision was originally challenged by MPs who urged the Home Office to reconsider. Labour’s Rachel Reeves, a former junior chess champion, and Matthew Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich where Shreyas lives, wrote to two cabinet ministers urging them to let the boy stay.

    The email received by Singh on Friday read: “As advised during the call we have spoken to your employer ... and have agreed with them that you will be able to submit an application to extend your stay in the UK under the tier 2 (General) route.

    “I would be grateful if you could let me know once the applications have been submitted so that I can ensure that they are processed smoothly.”

    The Home Office has been approached for comment.

  • #2
    Shreyas Royal – Chess Prodigy

    August 10, 2018

    Some comments online from readers of the Times:
    • Somebody needs to point out that a computer can utterly thrash any human being at chess, and therefore it’s a totally pointless skill. It’s a nice hobby, but nothing more.
    • On my motorbike, I can cover 100 metres quicker than Usain Bolt. Shall we stop bothering with the Olympics?

    Nigel Short - “I am delighted. One of our problems for quite a while has been a shortage of good junior players. If you look at English chess now, in the senior category of over 50s we’ve got an awful lot of good players because we had an exceptional generation, but there has been a relative absence of talented juniors. So it’s great that we’re going to be able to keep one.”
    • Exactly what does the father do since he couldn't get his work visa renewed but can apply for skilled workers stay? How many people is in the family in total? And why should it be impossible for the kid to play chess in India? Chess players are not exactly an essential group of workers to most countries....
    • Good, is this a first for the Home Office, demonstration of compassion and common sense?
    • Will this young man be representing GB or India in competitive matches?
    • Bet I could beat him. He's just a kid, my brain's bigger than his!
    • Well done Sajid ! This is a victory for common sense and the British sense of fair play that most of us believe in.

    Now you just need to overhaul the way Home Office staff interpret the rules governing who can stay and who gets deported. I believe anyone who makes a positive contribution, and in secure employment doesn't need to be earning almost as much as the Prime Minister to have their Visa extended.
    • A good decision, but I feel sorry for the boy - there will be enormous pressure on him to perform, and what if he develops some other interest in a year or two?
    • Life is full of ‘what if’, my experience is seize the opportunity and manage out or mitigate the ‘what if’ stuff, if it ever comes to pass.