SB Aravind Tharunsri and his family playing chess under water
SB Aravind Tharunsri and his family playing chess under water

Scuba instructor plays chess 60 ft underwater with family

SB Aravind Tharunsri and his family, who are trained divers, dove 60 feet underwater in Neelangarai and played chess, while Aravind was dressed up as the chess mascot, Thambi.

CHENNAI: While city denizens throng the chess-board-painted Napier Bridge for selfies, a scuba diving instructor took this enthusiasm to another level.

SB Aravind Tharunsri and his family, who are trained divers, dove 60 feet underwater in Neelangarai and played chess, while Aravind was dressed up as the chess mascot, Thambi.

Arvind had always wanted to do something different with his life. Scuba diving seemed like a good bet. I began doing a lot of ocean clean-ups. I used diving to spread awareness or even celebrate something,” he recalls.

“Since Chennai is hosting the chess Olympiad, I saw this as an opportunity that’s worth celebrating.”

SB Aravind Tharunsri
SB Aravind Tharunsri

SB Aravind TharunsriBut how did they manage to make it work underwater? “Since the chess board and coins are light-weight, I asked my friend, Rajeshwara Prabhu. He specialises in table magic boards to make a chess board that will stay put underwater. He made 3 boards each weighing 8 kg.”

They filled sand and iron fillings to make the coins heavy and prevent them from floating away. “The ‘Thambi’ mould I used underwater was designed by creative director Saravanan, who designed the Thambi statutes all over the city. He crafted the mould in such a way that I’d be able to see underwater and also breathe through the apparatus,” he explains.

Aravind says that his wife, Tharunsri (a make-up artist), helped in designing the chess pattern on his veshti. “I had ‘Thambi’ written on my forearm. My sister-in-law arranged for a special waterproof paint that would not smudge the script,” he smiles. “Our goal was to cheer the players. We hope they do well and wish them all the very best.”

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