Chess has been played in India since the 6th Century AD and believed to be originated in India. In 1988 that India found its first Grandmaster – a young boy called Viswanathan Anand. Today a young bunch of chess players from India have arrived and they are taking on the world’s best.
At the age of 19 Viswanathan Anand became Grandmaster and for the next two decades, he remained India’s sole representative in the elite world of international chess, winning the World Championship five times. Anand was first ever Indian to cross the 2800 FIDE rating mark and till now remains the only Indian in that zone.
Anand’s success, and his underdog rivalry with the legend Garry Kasparov, inspired a revival of interest in the game in India.
Here’s presenting the current top five chess players from India
Born on 10th May 1986 in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Harikrishna became the youngest grandmaster from India in 2001.
- In 2001 he became Commonwealth Champion.
- 2004 he won World Junior Championship.
- In 2011 he won Asian Individual Championship.
- He represented India a total of 7 times at the Chess Olympiads during the period of 2000-2012
- Harikrishna clinched the Tata Steel Group B in 2012 and followed it the Biel MTO Masters Tournament Open event in 2013.
- On 16th of March, 2016 Harikrishna Pentala reached a live rating of 2763.3 overtaking Vishy Anand on the live Elo rating scale. This was the first time in Indian chess that someone had moved ahead of Anand in the last three decades.
- He broke into the top ten players in the world in November 2016 with a FIDE rating of 2768.
Born on 7th January 1981, Sasikiran hails from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He learnt chess from his father S. Krishnan at the very early age of 9.
- Sasikiran won the Indian Chess Championship for the first time in 1999 and won it again in 2002, 2003 and 2013.
- In 1999 Sasikiran won the Asian Junior Chess Championship in Vietnam.
- Sasikiran completed the requirements for the Grandmaster title at the 2000 Commonwealth Championship at Sangli.
- Won the prestigious Hastings International Chess tournament.
- In 2006 Sasikiran won a gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games– team event
- At the 2014 Chess Olympiad he scored 7.5/10 points on board three to help the Indian team to win the bronze medal. Sasikiran also won the individual silver medal on board three.
Next in the list of top five chess players from India is Abhijeet Gupta. Born in Bhilwara, Rajasthan on 16th October,1989 Abhijeet is the first player to win the title of Commonwealth Chess Champion four times.
- In 2008, he won the World Junior Chess Championship in Turkey. He is the third Indian to win this prestigious championship, after Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna.
- He earned his Grandmaster title in 2008.
- In 2011, he won the 13th Dubai Open Chess Championship and the Indian National Premier Chess Championship.
- In 2013 Gupta won the Commonwealth Chess Championship.
- In 2015 he won the Commonwealth championship again and later that year the Hoogeveen Open.
- Reykjavik Open 2016 and his third Commonwealth championship title in Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
- In 2017 in hat-trick of titles and fourth in all he became the most successful player in the history of Commonwealth championship.
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi
Vidit was born in Nashik, Maharashtra on 24th October, 1994 in a family of doctors. he was left alone at home while his parents worked. This is when, to overcome the boredom he chose the royal game of chess.
- In 2008 he became the first Indian ever who won the World Youth Chess Championship in the U-14 category, became a International master.
- In 2011 he won in the U-20 category at the World Youth Chess Championship, gaining his first GM norm.
- At the 2011 Nagpur International Open he finished with 8 points out of 11, one point behind the eventual winner Ziaur Rahman and gained his second GM norm.
- He achieved his final GM norm in the 8th round of the 2012 Rose Valley Kolkata Open Grandmasters’ chess tournament where he finished third.
- In 2013, Vidit won a bronze medal in the World Junior Chess Championship in Turkey in the Junior (U-20) category.
- At Tata Steel 2017, only Vidit from the Indian contingent succeeded in achieving his goal & won the Bronze medal.
- World ranking: 34 (As on January 18, 2018)
At number five on the list of chess players is Baskaran Adhiban. Born 15 August 1992 in Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu, the Indian chessmaster came into the limelight after winning the Asian U-16 championship, Tashkent in 2007.
- In 2008 he won the U16 World Youth Championship.
- In 2009 he won the 47th Premier National Chess Championship.
- He earned his Grandmaster title in 2010.
- He was 2nd at the 2013 Asian Continental Championship qualifying to play in the World Cup (2013).
- In the 2013 World Cup, he defeated Evgeny Alekseev in the first round and Alexandr Hilario Takeda dos Santos Fier in the second round but was defeated by US super-GM Hikaru Nakamura in the next one.
- He was 2nd at the 2014 Asian Continental Championship and qualified for the World Cup (2015).
- in the World Cup (2015) where he was eliminated from the event in the first round’s first set of rapid tiebreakers by Russian GM Vladimir Fedoseev.
- On 14th March 2018 Adhiban won the 33rd Reykjavik Open tournament, which took place in Iceland. He became the second Indian to claim the title after Abhijeet Gupta grabbing it in 2016.
Can India’s generation next carry Viswanathan Anand like chess legacy forward?
Professional chess in India has come a long way…
Today, India has 42 active GMs and 89 active International Masters, with an average FIDE rating of 2670. India is ranked fifth in the world among 174 countries, behind Russia, China, America and Ukraine.
There are five Indian chess players in the top 100 of the world.
India has carved out a strong presence in the club of Super GMs as well. Pentala Harikrishna has joined Anand in the top 20 of the world. Indians have won the Junior World Championship twice since Anand in 1987, with Harikrishna and Abhijeet Gupta achieving the feat in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
An emerging force of chess players beyond Anand is visible ..
The Norway Chess Tournament 2016, which was open only to 10 Super GMs, in the world chosen by invitation. Harikrishna became the only Indian besides Anand to be invited this year, and he finished fourth among a star-studded line-up of giants that included current world champion Magnus Carlsen.
On the regional front, the Indian team for the Asian Nations Cup, comprising GMs Baskaran Adhiban, SP Sethuraman, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Krishnan Sasikaran, finished on top – a result Anand described as “huge”.
Upcoming Major Events where Indian chess players will participate:
- Karpov Tournament, Russia (May 26- June 6,2018) Vidit Gujrathi is participating.
- Altibox Norway Chess , Norway (May 27 – June 8, 2018) Unfortunately Harikrishna could not secure a berth for himself , Vishy Anand will participate.
- Commonwealth Chess Championships 2018, Delhi(June 25 – July 4, 2018)
- The World Youth Chess Championships 2018, Greece(October 19 –31, 2018) For the first time in India, Nagpur will host The World Youth Chess Championships 2019 next year.
- World Championship Match 2018, London (November 9 – 28 , 2018)
- World Senior Championship Match 2018, Slovenia (November 17 – 30, 2018)