Friday 17 August 2018

Chess prodigy (9) from India allowed to stay in the UK due to his 'world class talent'

Shreyas Royal's family have been allowed to stay in the UK due to his
Shreyas Royal's family have been allowed to stay in the UK due to his "world class talent Credit: Family handout/PA Wire

Rachael Burnett

The family of a nine-year-old chess prodigy from India has been allowed to stay in the UK due to his "world class talent".

Shreyas Royal and his parents were told they would have to leave when their visa expires next month.

He started playing chess when he was five and has represented England a number of times in international competitions.

His father Jitendra Singh, an IT project manager, spoke of his relief that the Home Office has allowed them to stay.

"We have been waiting for a very long time, it's such a relief for us," he added.

"We are very much happy that my son can continue.

"Shreyas became very happy and jumped on the sofa and started dancing.

"Yesterday we were packing to leave, we thought we had to go."

He added: "Definitely Shreyas will carry on and keep representing the country.

"When we came here he was only three years old, England is his first country."

Shreyas lives in Woolwich Arsenal, south-east London, with his father and mother Anju Singh.

He is a member of Battersea Chess Club, which has described him as "one of the most exciting prospects in English chess".

Club secretary Leon Watson said he could become "a household name as England's first world champion".

"Shreyas is a very nice, down-to-earth young man who has a big future ahead of him on the world stage hopefully representing England," he added.

"Our country badly needs someone like this, the next Nigel Short or Michael Adams, and we firmly believe Shreyas will do us proud."

A spokesman for the English Chess Federation said they are "delighted" by the decision and that Shreyas is second in the world ranking for his age.

The Home Office said Mr Singh has been given permission to apply for another five-year work visa without leaving the UK due to the "exceptional circumstances" of Shreyas's talent.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "After carefully reviewing the evidence, I have taken the personal decision to allow Shreyas and his family to stay in the UK.

"The UK is a country that fosters world class talent and Shreyas is one of the most gifted chess players in his generation.

"We have always been clear we want a world-class immigration system that welcomes highly-talented individuals from across the globe."

Shreyas will make the first move at the World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana in London in November.

World Chess chief executive Ilya Merenzon said: "2018 is the year of chess in London, with the biggest match in the world coming to the city in November.

"We are thrilled that Shreyas will be at the centre of this, accepting our once-in-a-lifetime offer to make the symbolic first move of the match as his hero Magnus Carlsen defends the world title against history-making American Fabiano Caruana.

"World Chess is relieved and delighted but not surprised the UK Government has finally seen sense. Shreyas is a phenomenal talent who can represent the UK on a global stage for years to come."

Press Association

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