Marottichal, a remote village nestled in the hills of Thrissur, was famous for illicit brewing during 1970's and 1980's. Availability of cheap brew threatened the life of villagers. 
 

It was chess, which saved their lives. With the game, they learned to get over the crisis that plagued them - alcohol addiction. 
 

Thanks to Unnikrishnan, the real knight who saved the villagers, who were just pawns in the bootlegging business. Unnikrishnan introduced the people of this remote village to the guile and gallantry with 64 squares. Now, every home has at least one chess player, and every man between the age of 10 and 50 years in the village is a player. Chess became a cerebral addiction that helped them escape alcohol dependence. 
 

Unnikrishnan, 59, was the first man to learn chess. He decided to learn the game when he was 10. 
 

The boy was inspired by a news report on Bobby Fischer, the American legend, who became a grandmaster at 16. Unnikrishnan travelled to his next village to learn the game. One he gained some mastery over the game, he started teaching other people in his village. Alcohol never dared to checkmate Marottichal after chess became an addiction for the people. 
 

Unnikrishnan is fondly called as 'maman' by villagers. He has given coaching to over 600 individuals, and some of them have even won accolades in state-wide tournaments. 
 

A survey conducted by chess enthusiasts in the village revealed that there was at least one chess player in every house.
 

The Chess Association of Marottichal has over 700-members, and the villagers have also created an Asian record with over 1000 persons playing the game simultaneously.