Indian Chess Players: 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 has arrived and they are taking on the world’s best. Here’s a complete list of the top 10 Indian Chess Plyers who have glorified the game of chess and India at the global level.
Legend of the game: Viswanathan Anand
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 the first-ever Indian to cross the 2800 FIDE rating mark and till now remains the only Indian chess player 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.
List of top 10 Indian chess players
|S.N||Indian Chess Players name||Achievements|
|4||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi|
|8||Surya Shekhar Ganguly|
Harikrishna Pentala: Indian Chess Players
Born on 10th May 1986 in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Harikrishna became the youngest grandmaster from India in 2001. He is one of the greatest Indian chess players of all time.
- 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 at the Biel MTO Masters Tournament Open event in 2013.
- On the 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.
Krishnan Sasikiran: Indian Chess Players
Born on 7th January 1981, Sasikiran hails from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He learned chess from his father S. Krishnan at the very early age of 9. This Indian Chess player won the prestigious Hastings International Chess tournament. 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.
- 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.
- In 2006 Sasikiran won a gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games– team event.
Abhijeet Gupta: Indian Chess Players
Next on the list of top Indian chess players is Abhijeet Gupta. Born in Bhilwara, Rajasthan on 16th October 1989. Abhijeet is the first Indian chess 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 a hat-trick of titles and fourth in all he became the most successful player in the history of the Commonwealth championship.
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi: Indian Chess Players
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 and registered his name in the list of the greatest Indian chess players.
- In 2008 he became the first Indian chess player ever who won the World Youth Chess Championship in the U-14 category, became an 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.
Baskaran Adhiban: Indian Chess Players
At number five on the list of Indian 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.
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.
- 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.
S.P. Sethuraman: Indian Chess Players
This legendary Indian chess player was born on 25th Feb1993, in Chennai. Grandmaster Sethuraman represented the country in the World U16 Championship in Antalya(2009). Also, he is the winner of the Asian U12 Chess Championship in 2004.
- Won the Indian National Premier Championship.
- In 2016 he won the Asian Chess Championship in Tashkent
Indian chess player, Aravindh was born on 11th Sept. 1999. He is the youngest Indian chess player to gain the title of Grandmaster. He secured the 2nd position in the World U14 Chess Championship in 2012. At the age of 12, Aravindh registered his victory at the under 19 National championships.
- Won the Indian chess championships twice, in 2018 and 2019.
- Earned his international master title in 2014 and his grandmaster title in 2015.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly
Born on Feb. 24, 1983. At the age of 16, Ganguly became the International Master. This feat was followed by the title of Grandmaster at the age of 19. He won the Asian Chess Championship in 2009. Ganguly holds a unique distinction of becoming the only Indian Champion six times row.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly has 40 individual gold, 21 individual silver, and 6 individual bronze medals in National as well as International chess tournaments. In team competitions, he secured 12 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals.
- Gold in National ‘A’ 2003
- National Rapid 2005: Champion
- Gold in National Team 2007
- 45th National ‘A’ 2008 (Gold)
- 46th National ‘A’ 2008 9Gold)
- National Team Championship, Kanpur, 2014 (Gold)
- National Team Championship, Goa, 2015 (Gold)
- Gold in National Team Championship Bhubaneswar, 2017
- National Team Championship Kolkata, 2018 (Gold)
- Gold in National Team 2019
- Bronze in Asian Continental Championship, 2001.
- GM (Grand Master) title at the 35th Chess Olympiad, Bled 2002.
- Asian Zonal: silver in 2001, gold in 2003 and 2007.
- Team Chess Championship: his team India won silver in 2003, 2007, and 2008, gold in 2005 (also an individual gold), and 2009.
- Asian Indoor Games 2007: two silver medals and a gold medal.
- Gold medal in Asian Continental Championship, 2009
- Goodricke International 2000: Won IM title.
- World Junior 2002: Bronze
- Gibtel International 2004: Second
- Delhi International 2004: Joint Champion
- Kolkata Open 2004: Joint Champion
- Amsterdam International 2004: Second
Nihal Sarin was born on 13th July 2004, in the southern state of India, Kerela. He became the Grandmaster at the early age of 14. Nihal is also the 3rd-youngest player in history to cross the Elo rating mark of 2600. He accomplishing this marvelous feat at age 14.
- World under-10 champion in 2014 in Durban, South Africa.
- Tied for first place in the world under-12 championship in Porto Carras, Greece taking the silver medal on tiebreaks.
- Become the youngest Indian to play in the World Cup 2019 where he managed to reach the second round.
Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan, born in 1998, is an Indian chess player with the title of Grandmaster(G.M.). In 2016, he won the bronze medal in the World Junior Chess Championship held at Bhubaneswar.
- Won the silver medal in the World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad in 2010.
- Vice-Captain of the Indian team which won the historic gold medal at the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020.
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 Indian 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”.