Nine-year-old prodigy, dubbed Britain’s ‘greatest chess prospect in a generation,’ faces deportation

The case of Shreyas Royal turns on Britain's strict enforcement of its immigration laws, the nature of his father's visa and even the question of whether chess is a sport.

LONDON — He’s been called Britain’s “greatest chess prospect in a generation.” But when his father’s work visa runs out next month, nine-year-old Shreyas Royal must return to India, chess prodigy or not, according to Britain’s Home Office - writes lfpress.com

The case of Shreyas, who was born in India, grew up in south London and is among the top players in the world in his age group, turns on Britain’s strict enforcement of its immigration laws, the nature of his father’s visa and even the question of whether chess is a sport.

“It is just bureaucracy gone mad,” said Dominic Lawson, president of the English Chess Federation, on Thursday.

The case has drawn the attention of at least two members of Parliament, who say that Britain could lose one of its most promising young chess players if authorities fail to make an exception to allow his family to remain in the country.

“We have not really produced strong chess players since I was young,” Lawson said by telephone Thursday. “I mean, our top player is in his 40s.”

It is just bureaucracy gone mad

He signed a letter in June that called Shreyas “England’s best junior chess prospect in a generation” and implored Sajid Javid, the British home secretary, to step in.

Last week, Rachel Reeves and Matthew Pennycook, both lawmakers for Labour, the main opposition party, wrote a letter also calling on Javid to intervene. Reeves said on Twitter that Britain “shouldn’t be deporting its brightest young talent.”

Javid, she said in the letter, should “allow Shreyas to stay in the only home he can remember.”

A spokesman for the Home Office was adamant Thursday that there was no recourse for the family: “There is no route within the immigration rules which would allow the family to remain in the U.K.”

Shreyas was three when his father, Jitendra Singh, found work as an IT project manager in Britain for Tata Consultancy Services, on a one-year visa. Singh moved with his wife and son from Bangalore, India, in 2012, settling in South London.

There, Shreyas learned to play chess, developing exceptional skills and dreaming of becoming the world’s youngest chess champion. In 2016, he won a silver medal at the European Schools Chess Championships in Halkidiki, Greece, according to the English Chess Federation.

On the BBC Radio’s “Today” show Tuesday, Shreyas chalked up his success to “working hard — I think that’s the only reason.”

Singh later extended his stay with a five-year visa that was given to people who earn less than 120,000 pounds, about $155,000, a year. The visa expires in September.

Caroline Nokes, the minister of state for immigration, said in a letter sent in response to Lawson that while Shreyas shows “immense promise,” there was “no route, within the rules, that will allow Mr. Singh and his family to remain in the country.”

Singh said in a telephone interview that once this visa expires, he cannot apply for another year, and if he gets a new assignment in Britain, he would have to apply from India. So the family must leave the country.

He's asking a lot of questions about why we have to go back to India

Immigration law in Britain allows for visas to be issued to those with “exceptional talent” — in fields such as science, engineering, digital technology and fashion — or categories of “sport,” like archery, cricket, snooker or yoga.

But according to Lawson, chess does not qualify as an exceptional talent or a sport.

Reeves and others have suggested that if Singh earned more than 120,000 pounds, he would be eligible to extend his work visa. But the Home Office said that was not an option.

Singh’s visa, intended for transfers within a company, was “not a route to settlement” in the country, “and it is not an option to immediately extend it once the five-year period of leave comes to an end — regardless of how much the individual is earning.”

Famous sporting figures have been allowed to settle in Britain in the past, including Mo Farah, the Olympic distance runner, who was born in Somalia and became a naturalized British citizen.

And as Britain moves closer to leaving the European Union, the government has spoken in favor of attracting talent from around the world, amid fears that tighter borders could isolate the country.

For now, Shreyas — who is ranked fourth in the world for his age group, according to the English federation — is competing in the British Chess Championships. “We are getting a lot of support,” Singh said Thursday, “but we’re not getting any response from Sajid Javid.”

The prodigy and his family are worried, his father says.

“He’s asking a lot of questions about why we have to go back to India,” Singh said. “This is the only place he remembers.”

Read more news of London on our site.

lfpress.com
Nine-year-oldprodigy chessprospect Britain
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
3 views in june
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
Society
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
Society
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
Society
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Society
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Crime
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
Society
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
Society
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...
Society
Train passengers are being warned of major disruption after overhead electric wires were damaged near one of London’s busiest stations. Network Rail said services travelling to and from Liverpool Street could be cancelled or revised until 8am on Thursday. Wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green, east London, were damaged, with the outage impacting Greater Anglia, London Overground, Stansted Express and Transport for London Rail services. Passenger...