This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
India's advance as a chess nation
1930s- 2023: India’s rise
January 19, 2023: The Times of India
The Maruti 800 came five years before India’s first chess grandmaster title. Thirty-five short years later India is second only to Russia (208 total, 104 active players) in terms of GMs in this phase. The feat is all the more staggering considering that Covid disrupted overthe-board chess events where GMs are minted.
Meanwhile, R Praggnanandhaa, who was the youngest International Master (IM) of the world at 10 in 2015, has defeated undisputed chess king Magnus Carlsen multiple times on online platforms. Arjun Erigaisi and D Gukesh have redefined young Indian chess players’ hunger by winning titles. And Nihal Sarin and M Pranesh add an element of pleasant surprise.
How did India turn into a GM mint? The emergence and financial viability of the online platform, Vishy Anand’s active involvement in mentoring talent, and a number of young GMs and stronger teenaged players have changed the narrative.
Huge Player Base
“Having so many GMs is a logical progression,” says premier national coach Grandmaster RB Ramesh, who quit chess at a young age and now runs Chess Gurukul in Chennai (a third of India’s GMs are from Tamil Nadu). “We have a large population and more and more children have taken up the sport. There are a good number of coaches, academies and proper training methods. ”
But Ramesh points out the growth has happened without proper planning. “It has been largely possible due to the initiative of a few individuals. ”
The game appeals to well-off Indians as it is injury-free and evokes respect because it is associated with intelligence. Having a role model like Anand also helps.
To critics who point out that 35 of India’s 79 GMs have slipped below the minimum threshold of Elo 2500 (see box), Ramesh says becoming a GM even with the lower criteria is tough, and had it really become easier more GMs would be coming out of other countries also.
He says Indians’ capacity for hard work has been key. “Generally speaking, it is far easier for an Indian kid to take a 5am online chess class than for an American or a European student. ”
Low Entry Barrier
Chess is thriving in India because it does not require huge infrastructure, latest playing equipment and modern methods of physical training. With access to a computer and chess engines, anyone can practise opening moves, and the chances of being outplayed by a slightly stronger player have diminished. This helps unfancied players because, for a GM norm,a drawn game earns half a point, and not having to play a tiebreaker against a higherrated player can mean a significant gain.
“It is not possible for all the players to reach a highlevel Elo performance (2600) more than 3-4 times in their career,” says former seventime national champion Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay. “With the emphasis on opening preparation, the players can give good results in a short span of time. ”
But Thipsay says today’s GMs are not as knowledgeable as the masters of yesteryear “because it is not possible to attain that kind of wisdom with 3-4 years of meticulous hard work…. Becoming a GM was considered a difficult task at one time. When I became a GM (in the year 1997) there were fewer than 300 GMs in the world, now there are 2,000 or so. ”
Ramesh, however, says today’s generation is taskoriented and has a practical approach towards sports and life in general. “Beingprincipled all the time too has its drawbacks. ” But he concedes: “The number of players quitting active chess is significantly more now. ”
‘Game Of The Privileged’
Breaking into the GM circuit early has now become crucial for a career in chess, says Thipsay. “It is largely believed that if you are not at your peak at the age of 20-21, it is unlikely that you will become a world champion. ” It also means that if you are not a GM before turning 17, your chances to break into the elite dip. But turning young GMs into formidable players is quite a task due to stagnation and the spiralling costs of training and playing tournaments.
“The harsh reality of Indian chess is that if you are a good player from a poor background without any well-wisher and sponsorship, you can’t progress,” says Ramesh, adding: “90% of GM norms attained by Indians happen in Europe, including Serbia and other countries. I estimate Indiansare spending a minimum of Rs 50 crore a year in pursuit of GM norms. These are just travelling, lodging and boarding expenses. ”
Thipsay says free coaching for players can level the field. “In Russia and China, the GMs were paid for their coaching by the system. We need something on those lines. ” Ramesh says organising GM norm tournaments in India could also help, but it poses other challenges.
He says when such tournaments are announced in India, players with a poor rating compete in them to gain experience but end up diluting the strength of the tournament. “Naturally, even the winners of such tournaments don’t attain GM normlevel performances. ” But tournament organisers say they need to take additional entries to break even.
Tamil Nadu: The Chess Capital of India
Viswanathan Anand was India's first Grandmaster. He achieved the distinction way back in 1987
D Gukesh became India’s youngest ever Grandmaster in January this year at age of 12 years, 7 months and 17 days
Of the first 64 GMs, Tamil Nadu contributed with 23
Grand Masters from India
1988-2021: The first 67 Indian Grandmasters
HEMANT SINGH, July 20, 2021: The Times of India
As per the latest data of the World Chess Federation, there are a total of 67 Chess Grandmasters from India. Viswanathan Anand is the first Grandmaster from India while Leon Mendonca is the latest and 67th Chess Grandmaster from India. Gukesh D is India's youngest GM at 12 years, 7 months and 17 days, succeeding Praggnanandhaa who held the record at 12 years and 10 months in June 2018.
In this article, we have curated a complete list of India's Chess Grandmasters from 1988 to 2021.
List of all Chess Grandmasters from India (1988-2021)
Santosh Gujrathi Vidit
Chithambaram VR. Aravindh
Surya Shekhar Ganguly
|Geetha Narayanan Gopal||
|22.||Leoon Luke Mendonca||
|M. R. Lalith Babu||
|J. Deepan Chakkravarthy||
|G. A. Stany||
|Sundar M. Shyam||
|N. R. Visakh||
|S. Arun Prasad||
|Magesh Chandran Panchanathan||
|A. Koushik Girish||
|S. Dhopade Swapnil||2495|
|M. R. Venkatesh||
|R. Rajpara Ankit||
|M. S. Thejkumar||
|R. R. Laxman||
|Praveen M Thipsay||
|Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury||
In the concluding remarks, it can be said that the game of chess is spreading its wings across India. India has 67 Grandmasters, 124 International Masters, 20 Woman Grandmasters, 42 Woman International Masters, and a total of 33,028 rated players, as of January 2021.
1988-2019: 64 Grand Masters
Prasad RS, December 11, 2019: The Times of India
Mir and Mirza continued to play chess, only occasionally stopping to spit paan into their ornate spittoons or take a drag of their hookahs, as the British Raj swept through dusty Awadh in the 1850s. Oblivious and unperturbed, they wouldn’t look up from the board even as seismic events swirled around them – a dynasty dwindled and an entire sub-continent colonised. The institutionalized ennui of the times was immortalized in Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Satyajit Ray’s 1977 film which had adapted Premchand’s scathing satire of two noblemen in Wajid Ali Shah’s court obsessed with shatranj, using the precursor of the modern-day chess game as a metaphor for the elite’s apathy towards their land as its history was being rapidly re-scribbled.
Much may or may not have changed in todays’ India, though, you could argue the obsession with chess remains the same. People still refuse to tear their eyes away from the boards — peering over unmoving pieces, even as there is constant movement in the minds. As it is in Kolkata, each evening, under the glare of sodium lamps, beneath the flyover that cuts through the impossibly bustling Gariahat Market, creating a strange oasis of calm within the universe of noise that envelops it. Kolkata is the home of Dibyendu Barua, India’s second Grand Master. Chennai, home of the first — Viswanathan Anand — possesses a near-religious reverence for chess. A chess board in a Chennai household is as every day as the elaborate kolams that adorn their thresholds. Like everything its middle class does, the sport is pursued with the same silent monastic zeal here, as are early lessons in Carnatic music, or fool-proof preparations for admission to the IITs or a tech university abroad. A chessboard laid out on the cool stone plinth of the verandah, or on the laptop inside, is de riguer. Anand believes it is ingrained in the local culture. “It is just the tradition, I think. In most families, the parents play chess and the children learn the nuances of the game from them and begin playing. It’s very much one generation passing on its wisdom to the next,” he tells TOI.
Not surprisingly then, Chennai is the epicentre of the board game. Only last month — a day before International Chess Day on July 20 – Anand put out a ‘punching the air’ tweet. “And we are complete,” he proclaimed, “64th GM!! Welcome our newest GM Prithu Gupta!” The original master was welcoming Delhi youngster Prithu Gupta who had just turned Grand Master into his fold, remembering to point out that Indian GMs would now fill all squares on a chessboard! The game has come a long way since the days of Mir and Mirza, but we are still seeing things in 64-square patterns.
A casual look at the states’ contribution of India’s 64 GMs shows Tamil Nadu as a clear first with 23. West Bengal is a distant second with 8, followed by Maharashtra (7) and New Delhi giving rise to 6 GMs. A total of 4 GMs have been produced by Andhra Pradesh while Kerala, Telangana and Karnataka have 3 each. Odisha and Gujarat are part of the list with a couple of GMs each. Rajasthan, Haryana and Goa too feature by bringing in one GM each from their end.
Anand’s early initiation into chess at age six, was courtesy his mother, Sushila. That story is well-known, part of India’s sports folklore – his grounding and well-rounded development in sharp contrast to Bobby Fischer, that undisputed monster of the game who too, had in his mother, Regina, the central figure in his early life in chess. Anand further honed his talent with the help of theory journals in Manila where his father Krishnamurthy Viswanathan was posted. Today, it would be a very different Chennai (then Madras) that Anand would have inhabited. Riding on the computer boom in the 1990s and available chess software thereafter, chess is almost part of the school curriculum today. Anand owes the healthy state of the sport to two broad factors -- support from school and encouragement from the parents. That has largely been instrumental in India seeing a surge in the GMs count in the last few years.
“Schools such as Velammal appreciate the efforts put in by their students and that’s what a youngster needs,” says Anand. “If you feel you are pursuing something at the expense of the school and no one cares, then that’s not a nice feeling. To top that, a lot of parents today are supporting their kids to take up chess as a sport. They are encouraging them, travelling with them and giving the children every chance to explore their talent in chess,” he points out.
Velammal is a name that often figures in discussions related to the growth of chess in India’s southern city. The school — with branches in Chennai and Madurai — finds itself in a unique position on the chess map of India having contributed to 10 out of the ‘full set’ of 64 Grandmasters India has currently. Among the 10 GMs, eight come from Velammal’s main school in Mogappair area of Chennai. Gukesh is a student of the Velammal CBSE School in Mel Ayanambakkam while K Priyadharshan completed his XI and XII grade at Velammal school in Madurai.
To think, the popular institute, with about 15 schools under its umbrella today, started off with a mere 30 students in the city’s Mogappair East district back in 1986. Today, chances are the Velammal School has a brass band on permanent hire. They are pressed into service as part of the reception committee belting out popular songs each time their student returns after winning a chess tournament. R Praggnanandhaa, after becoming India’s then youngest GM in June last year, was greeted at the Chennai airport in similar fashion — brass band and garlands from the school — before he could get home to friends and family. A similar ritual was repeated that following winter when D Gukesh broke Praggu’s record of becoming the youngest GM from India. Contrary to the city’s understated ways, the school is recognizing the value of cashing in on its unique status – 10 of India’s 64 GMs answer the roll call. Just imagine the collective IQ on show here!
In 1991, after Barua followed Anand’s 1988 pioneering feat of turning GM, it was expected that India’s tryst as chess superpower had indeed gotten underway. However, the wait for the next GM took six long years before Pravin Thipsay joined the club in 1997. In contrast, from 2000 alone, 61 have gone on to join the list. One is tempted to ask Anand, whether becoming a GM is an easier exercise as compared to his time? The thoughtful champion explains: “The level of participation is quite high from Indian players, and we have some of the most intensely-contested open tournaments. Our domestic tournaments are extremely competitive and Indians players have a lot of depth. I think we have no shortage of strong players and we are easily one of the leading chess nations in the world at the moment.”
Prithu Gupta, India’s No 64, offers the millennial GM’s explanation. The Delhi boy feels his institution’s support was critical in him reaching the level he has at the moment. “In order to manage any sport and academics for a school-going kid, the support of the school fraternity is absolute necessary. In my case, the school has been a pillar of support and is a large part of the reason why I have reached where I have,” says the Grade X student of Modern School, Vasant Vihar.
For Praggu, Velammal School is more just an institution. “Be it giving us extended breaks to play in tournaments or holding necessary special classes so that we don’t miss out on academics, my school has offered tremendous support,” he says.
The country’s prowess in the sport got its due validation from none other than former world champion Vladimir Kramnik from Russia, a great rival of Anand’s, who — in a recent chat with TOI — hailed India’s current generation as one of the best in the history of the game. “I think it is the strongest generation in the world now, maybe the strongest ever in one country,” Kramnik, says, “India has got some very talented kids with a very big potential of being top players, maybe even world champions in the future.” So impressed is the former Russian legend that he has invited six of India’s young guns — Praggu, Gukesh, P Iniyan, Arjun Erigaisi and International Masters Leon Mendonca and Raunak Sadhwani — for a camp in Geneva.
Prithu believes the day isn’t far when India will break the 100-GM barrier. “It will be among the many milestones Indian players will cross in the coming years,” he says. With the future looking bright, Anand wants more active participation from the corporates to take Indian chess to the next level. “The next step for Indian chess should have more corporates involved. If they can start supporting our players, it will be a big boost. I would like to see the Indians thinking not just a GM title but also raising their ELO ratings to 2700 and plus. Those are the goals that they should be thinking of,” he says. As always, when the soft-voiced Anand talks, a chess nation stops to listen.
2019: 5 new Grandmasters added
India’s 60th and youngest Grandmaster. Gukesh missed becoming world’s youngest GM — a feat held currently by Russian GM Sergey Karjakin — by just 17 days
India’s 61st Grandmaster. Incidentally, Iniyan had got the mandatory third and final GM norm in July 2018 at the International Barbera del Valles chess tournament in Barcelona. Despite possessing the necessary prerequisites to be a Grandmaster, Iniyan had an agonising wait since his ELO rating had not touched the 2500 mark last year
India’s 62nd Grandmaster from Odisha. Interestingly, the 26-year-old is a FIDE trainer who has been associated with numerous players such as International Master (IM) Sai Agni Jeevitesh, Sankalp Gupta, Clarence Psaila and Shrishti Pandey among others
India's 63rd GM from Mysuru. The 22-year-old took a break from the sport to pursue his engineering. Once he was done with the course, he was back to the chess board. Girish secured the last two of the mandatory three GM norms in just a month-and-half
India's 64th GM. 15-year-old student from Modern School, Vasant Vihar bagged his maiden GM norm at the Gibraltar Masters last year and soon got his second norm at the Biel Masters in 2018. The third and final GM norm for Prithu arrived at the Porticcio Open last month
2020: Akash is India’s 66th Grandmaster
July 5, 2020: The Times of India
Tamil Nadu’s G Akash became the country’s 66th chess Grandmaster while his statemate M Pranesh and Goa’s Ameya Audi earned International Master titles. Akash’s GM title was confirmed at the second council meet of International Chess Federation (FIDE) for the year 2020 held recently. The Chennai player (FIDE rating 2495) said he was delighted to become a GM and among his immediate aim was to increase his rating to 2600.
Youngest GMs in (world) history
As in 2021 July
Top-5 youngest GMs in history, as in July 2021
Sankalp Gupta: India’s quickest and 71st Grandmaster
Amit Sampat, Nov 8, 2021: The Times of India
Sankalp Gupta scripted history by becoming India’s quickest and 71st Grandmaster (GM).
The 18-year-old achieved the title in mere 24 days and in three successive tournaments. No other GM from India has earned the title in such a short time. He is now Nagpur’s second and Maharashtra’s 10th GM.
To achieve the GM title, a player is required to achieve three norms and cross the live rating of 2500 Elo points. Sankalp’s sojourn started in Serbia with a round-robin tournament on October 15. In the 11-round event, the International Master (IM) cleared his first GM norm on October 22 and immediately started playing the second tournament where he achieved his second norm.
With a satisfactory show in back-to-back tournaments, the 2446 Elo Sankalp earned 17.3 and 21.8 points respectively to take his tally of live international rating to 2485 on October 30.
Sankalp started playing his third tournament from October 31, but his march was halted in the second round. Sankalp remained positive and snatched three victories on the trot, drew three boards and won the final round to emerge on top of the table with 6.5 points and cleared the third GM norm.
Based on the tie-break system, he finished second but gave a performance rating of 2605 and earned 19.1 Elo points to take his tally of live international rating to 2504.1 and clear the fourth and final criteria of becoming GM.
Sharing his happiness, Sankalp told TOI that he knew becoming a GM in three tournaments is possible. “And actually doing it feels great. After losing the second round I was very upset. At the same time, I was motivated to bounce back and took just one game at a time,” he said.
Since starting his Serbia sojourn, Sankalp became a GM on Sunday and scripted a record of achieving the title in just 24 days. Of the 70 GMs in the country no other Indian master has ever become a title holder in such a short time. On June 19, 2019, when Sankalp became an IM, he took 895 days since clearing his first norm on Jan. 5, 2017.
Raja Rithvik becomes India’s 70th Grandmaster
Chennai: R Raja Rithvik has become India’s 70th and latest chess Grandmaster, achieving his third and final norm at a recent event in Hungary. Former world champion and Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand praised the 17-year old Warangal native for entering the GM club. Rithvik, who earned his first GM norm in 2019, achieved his second and third norms in less than a month.
Mitrabha Guha: India’s 72nd GM
Archiman Bhaduri, Nov 10, 2021: The Times of India
It’s raining Grandmasters in India. After Vidarbha’s Sankalp Gupta achieved the title, Bengal’s Mitrabha Guha became India’s 72nd GM by earning his third and final norm in the GM Third Saturday Mix 220 at Novi Sad, Serbia. To achieve the GM title, a player has to secure three GM norms and cross the live rating of 2,500 Elo points.
Not only was Guha executing his moves on the board right, he planned well to earn the title too. The 20-yearold decided to give the final push after earning his second GM norm just 13 days ago at the Sheikh Russel International GM in Bangladesh. “I decided to pack my bags for Serbia in one day after returning from Dhaka,” Guha told TOI from Serbia.
Needing two more points with an Elo rating of 2498 then, Guha decided to take his chance. “I am having a good run in the recent tournaments and felt this is the right time to go for it,” he stated. Guha proved himself right by joining the elite club in international chess with a round still to go in the tournament. In a way it was a fast ride for Guha to the title after he earned his first norm in 2018 only at the 20th Sant Marti International Chess Open in Spain. Interestingly Guha was working without a coach from 2018 when he achieved two of his norms.
Introduced to the game by his father Raj, Guha, who started playing at the age of four years, developed an instant liking for it. “Becoming a GM was always at the back of my mind since the day I started playing chess,” Guha said. Tutored by GM Dibyendu Barua, Soham Das and International Master Atanu Lahiri, the introvert boy’s journey was halted over the last two years due to the pandemic.
“Although I didn’t miss the game much then as I was playing a lot of online tournaments, but my rating got struck with no over-the-board events,” he said. Guha defeated World champion Magnus Carlsen twice in an online friendly meet during this time.
He managed to return to ‘real’ chess by taking part in the Bangladesh Premier Division Chess League in March this year before another round of lockdown forced him to stay indoors again.
India's 73rd chess Grandmaster
The Chennai-based player scored 6.5 points from nine rounds along with four others to finish seventh overall in the event held at Cattolica.
Fourteen-year old Bharath Subramaniyam became India's 73rd chess Grandmaster, securing the third and final GM norm at an event in Italy.
The Chennai-based player scored 6.5 points from nine rounds along with four others to finish seventh overall in the event held at Cattolica.
He obtained his third GM norm here and also touched the requisite 2,500 (Elo) mark. Fellow Indian player M R Lalith Babu emerged winner in the tournament with seven points, winning the title on the basis of a better tie-break score after he tied with three others including top-seed Anton Korobov (Ukraine).
Bharath finished with six wins and one draw while losing two games - against Korobov and Lalith Babu.
Bharath achieved his first GM norm after securing 11th place at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow in February 2020. He secured the second norm after placing 4th in the Junior Roundtable Under 21 tournament in Bulgaria with 6.5 points in October 2021.
To become a GM, a player has to secure three GM norms and cross the live rating of 2,500 Elo points.
His coach M Shyam Sundar, a GM himself, congratulated Subramaniyam and tweeted: "Congratulations Bharath for becoming the latest GM of India!! Let's focus on new goals in this new year!!”
Subramaniyam had become an International Master at the age of 11 years and 8 months in 2019.
Mitrabha Guha had become the country's 72nd GM in November last, two days after Sankalp Gupta became the 71st GM.
Rahul Srivatshav becomes India’s 74th Grandmaster
June 12, 2022: The Times of India
Chennai: Rahul Srivatshav P of Telangana has become India’s 74th Grandmaster, achieving the title after breaking the 2500 (Elo points) barrier in live FIDE ratings during the 9th Cattolica Chess Festival 2022 in Ital y. The 19-year old player reached the 2500 Elo live rating mark after drawing his 8th round game against Grandmaster Levan Pantsulaia in the Cattolica event.
2021: Divya is India’s 22nd WGM
Amit Sampat, Oct 15, 2021: The Times of India
NAGPUR: Once a princess in the game of 64 squares, Divya Deshmukh has now become a queen by wearing the Woman Grandmasters (WGM) crown which sparkled all the more with the addition of her second International Master (IM) norm.
In her first overthe-board (OTB) outing post a 19-month pandemic break, the 16-year-old Divya continued from where she left off and became Vidarbha’s first and India’s 22nd WGM. She achieved the rare feat while playing in an international rating tournament at Budapest, Hungary.
Mishra, USA, breaks Praggnanandhaa’s youngest IM record
Prasad RS, Nov 10, 2019: The Times of India
At 10 years 9 months and 3 days, Abhimanyu Mishra became the youngest International Master (IM) in the world. Abhimanyu, an American boy with Indian roots, bettered Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa’s record of being the youngest IM by 17 days. Praggu had become an IM on May 30, 2016.
Abhimanyu --- who has an ELO rating of 2411 --- achieved his third and final IM norm at the Chess Max Academy 1st Fall GM Invitational in New York. Abhimanyu --- the eighth seed in the competition --- drew all his nine rounds. He had achieved his maiden IM norm at the Chess Max Academy GM norm tournament in August this year. During the course of that event, Abhimanyu --- at 10 years, 7 months and 3 days --- had eclipsed Praggu’s record of being the youngest-ever IM norm holder by 15 days. The 1st Los Angeles Fall GM tournament in September saw Abhimanyu clinch his second IM norm. Abhimanyu’s father Hemant has been a pillar of support for the youngster. To make him spend more on the board, Abhimanyu’s parents even made the decision of home-schooling him. “He spends 9-10 hours with the sport. He had the talent and it was all about giving him the support,” Hemant told TOI.
India’s place in global chess
As in 2018
There’s five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, who captured India’s imagination and catapulted chess in the country to another level when he became its first grandmaster at the age of 18 in 1988. There are 12,153 Indians, male and female, with an Elo rating, or 7.3% of all active players. For a country credited with origins of chess, but which was a latecomer to the sport of chess as it looks now, it’s a telling statistic that the number of active Indian chess players on this database is next only to Spain (8.9%) and France (8%). By comparison, the share of active players from Russia is 6.8%, the US 1.5% and China 0.6% (chart 2).
In other words, there are many chess players in India who like to see their performance distilled into a single number that can be compared and tracked. This partly comes from the novelty of having a world ranking. In terms of average Elo rating, India is fourth from the bottom, ranked 181 of 185 countries. But it is also, in some measure, a demonstration of intent, of wanting to compete in chess.
A measure of competitive intent, craft and commitment is an Elo rating of above 2,000. Back in January 2001, the oldest year for which data is available and the year following Anand’s first world title win, there were 656 active Indian players with an Elo rating of above 2,000, or a share of 2.3%. In November 2018, that number had fallen to 488, or a share of 1.6%. During this period, the total number of players in the world with an Elo rating above 2,000 has increased marginally from 28,936 to 30,253. In other words, for India, there is a drop between players taking to chess and persisting till the beginning of the competitive bracket.While India has lost share at the Elo 2,000 level, several European countries have gained, notably Spain and Czech Republic (chart 3).
However, at higher levels, Indians are making their presence felt. Take the world juniors (under 21 years). Among male juniors, as of November 2018, there were 12 Indians in the top 100, next only to Russia (14). Among female juniors, there were 11 Indians, next only to Russia (21) (chart 4).
That said, the junior ranks in chess can be like tennis and cricket, where the top juniors don’t necessarily lead in transiting to senior ranks. One Indian who made that transition, and is still making his presence felt with his longevity, is Anand. Aged 49, he is currently ranked eighth in the world. Among the top 100 players in the game today, he is the third oldest. To put this in context, the average age of the other nine players in the top 10 is 30 years. Anand has lived through three eras of the sport. There was the era of Russian dominance, whose flagbearers were Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. Anand took the baton, and became the figurehead of a time when chess became broader, younger, faster and cooler. Today, the likes of Carlsen and Caruana are doing more of that. Anand has been a vanguard for chess in India. So much of the increase in player numbers, tournaments, sponsorship and awareness about chess in India intertwines with his journey.
Today, India is ranked eighth in the count of grandmasters (usually players with Elo ratings above 2,500), male and female (chart 5).
In 2000, when Anand first became world champion, India had five grandmasters. It now has 53. It then had 1 player in the top 100 for men, now it has 6. It had 1 player in the top 50 for women, now it has 3.
India is registering strong numbers in the lower and upper-middle echelons. But, at the very top, it is still waiting for another Anand.
A: Praggu enters final
Prasad RS, May 25, 2022: The Times of India
Chennai : Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa is making it a habit of beating the top players in the circuit. Days after defeating world champion Magnus Carlsen during a preliminary stage clash of the ongoing Chessable Masters, an online tournament, Praggu beat Anish Giri to make the final of the competition. The AnishPraggu match ended 2-2 after the 4-game rapid match and the 16-year-old won the tiebreaker 1. 5-0. 5 to book his place in the summit clash. Praggu faces World no. 2 Ding Liren who defeated Magnus 2. 5-1. 5 in the other semifinal.
Prasad RS, May 28, 2022: The Times of India
It was a see-saw battle in the final of Chessable Masters, an online chess tournament, that Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa lost to World No. 2 Ding Liren in the tiebreakers. The clash ---which went down to the wire --ended a t around 2. 20 am IST, and by 8. 45 am the 16-year-old had arrived at his school to appear for the Class XI state board exams.
Praggu has been performing the balancing act with aplomb by planning his day in such a way that there was sufficient time to not only study for his exams, but also prepare for the battles against the world’s top -rated players. “The last few days have been incredibly tiring. It’s a first for me --writing ex- ams and playing a tournament simultaneously. I had the computer applications exam and it went well,” Praggu told TOI. Praggu’s long-time coach RB Ramesh said it was a tribute to the youngster’s mentality that he managed to handle his matches and the exams at the same time. “His biggest asset is to be able to stay in the moment. To write an exam just hours after that heartbreaking loss shows his character,” Ramesh mentioned.
After losing on Day 1 of the final, Praggu showed nerves of steel to win the second leg 2. 5-1. 5 and take the clash into the tie-breakers. Thursday’s first game started with the Semi-Tarrasch opening and both players were solid in their play to split points after 41 moves. The second clash came to life with a queen exchange. Praggu was able to capitalize on a good position and win that contest. “That particular win gav e me enough confidence to take the match deep,” said Praggu. Ding and Praggu drew the next two games as the final headed into the tie-breakers comprising two blitz games and then an armageddon game if needed. Praggu had an advantage in the first blitz game but failed to press home the advantage and the match ended in a draw. In the second blitz clash, Praggu committed an error and Ding was q uick to capitalize on it to win the clash and with it the title. Ding praised Praggu for giving him a hard time.
Bangkok Rapid Chess
Aryaveer wins silver in Bangkok Rapid Chess: Eight-year-old Aryaveer Pittie claimed a silver medal in the under-8 category at the Bangkok Rapid Chess Championship. Aryaveer of the American School of Bombay (ASB) finished second with a creditable score of four points out of possible six at the Prasarnmit Plaza Sukhumvit on Sunday. Thailand’s Suthiponpaisarn won the gold with five points.
Commonwealth chess championships
Top England, Canada players avoid, so India monopolises
Over the years, the Commonwealth chess championship has increasingly resembled a miniature version of the Indian National championship. Whether it is the Open section — involving men and women — or the age-group categories, the Indians have hardly missed a medal.
Though the country’s best have stayed away from this competition it has, in no way, slowed the Indian juggernaut. The continued absence of the elite players from England and Canada means India will once again virtually monopolise the medals when the action begins here on Tuesday.
The list of 13 Grandmasters — all Indians — is headed by 2014 champion Deep Sengupta, ranked 15th in the country. That is the true reflection on the lack of worthiness of the Commonwealth title for the Indian elite. The field also has 15 IMs and two WGMs. For the record, there are 134 Indians in a field of 166. Among those missing from the field is the four-time winner and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta.
On the brighter side, the organisation of this event has improved dramatically since 2016. This year the competition returns to the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel here. Unlike last year, the main action will be at the spacious ground floor hall.
In the seven age-groups, where the competition will be held separately for girls, as well, Indian talent is set to come to the fore.
The top-10 seeds are: 1. Deep Sengupta (2526), 2. Vaibhav Suri (2556), 3. Deepan Chakkravarthy (2531), 4. M. R. Lalit Babu (2529), 5. V.Vishnu Prasanna (2525), 6. Debashis Das (2522), 7. Swapnil Dhopade (2495), 8. M. S. Thej Kumar (2495), 9. Abhijit Kunte (2494), 10. V. Karthik (2475).
August 10, 2022: The Times of India
August 10, 2022: The Times of India
Mamallapuram: It was a historic day for Indian chess as both the men’s and women’s teams won bronze medals in the 44th Chess Olympiad on Tuesday. But there was also a sense of missing out. While India 2 team, comprising youngsters D Gukesh,
RPraggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, Raunak Sadhwani and B Adhiban, missed their golden chance by losing to Uzbekistan on Monday, the Indian women blew their opportunity to win the gold by losing to US in the 11th round Tuesday, reports Prasad RS. Uzbek men finished on top and the girls from Ukraine won gold. “Winning the medal was historic but we couldn’t play to our potential. This bronze doesn’t feel enough,” India’s No. 1 women’s player Koneru Humpy said. This was the first Olympiad medal for women.
In the open section, the young guns of Indian chess won against Germany to assure themselves of a medal.
Incredible rise of Gukesh, who finds himself in top-20 The steely determination of the younger lot, that helped India 2 win bronze
Rethink necessary on how teams should be formed. Current form needs to be a criteria and not just ELO rating Presence of 5 players in ELO 2700 club an indication of India’s resources
Bronze for women a boost but final-day meltdown despite being top seeds a matter of concern
Important to have women playing in open section in national-level tournaments
FIDE’s rating list
2016: two Indian players in world's top 10
IANS, GM Harikrishna enters top 10 in rankings. Nov 07 2016
Indian GM, who is in the elite list, is former world champion V . Anand (2779) at the seventh place.
Indian Grandmaster P. Harikrishna on Sunday became the second Indian chess player to join the elite club of world's top 10, as per the rating list released by the game's global body FIDE. As per the latest rating list of FIDE for the month of November 2016, the 30-year-old Harikrishna was ranked 10th with 2768 points.
This is the first in the history of Indian chess that two players figure in the world's top 10 ranking list.
Sabu.Cherian, May 21, 2022: The Times of India
Ahmedabad: Five-year-old Dhairya Shroff of Gujarat has become the youngest rated chess player in India and the second youngest in the world. He achieved the feat at the age of five years, four months and two days, breaking the record of Pune’s Sarthak Deshpande, who had achieved the feat at five years and 11 months.
Global chess body FIDE confirmed Dhairya as India’s youngest rated chess player. “Dh airya Shroff was born on 2016-12-28, but in one of the two tournaments he played his birthday is 2016-12-16 in the tournament report file. Either way, he is the youngest Indian rated player by q uite some margin. The next one is born on 2015-10-01,” said an International Chess Federation (FIDE) spokesperson.
The spokesperson, however, denied detailed information on the age of the youngest rated player in the world citing Europe’s data privacy rules. The spokesperson said, “The top youngest rated players in the world are Amira Ismayilova of Azerbaijan with Fide rating of 1136, India’s Dhairy Shroff with rating of 1074, Sam Ramezani of Iran with rating of 1013, Andrej Brajic of Serbia with rating of 1310 and France’s Luca Protopopescu with rating of 1369. ”
It wa s during the lockdown induced by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic last year that Dhairya got hooked onto the game. “He was only four and would observe me play chess online and slowly began developing interest in the game. I explained to him the rules and moves and he grasped it easily,” Dhairya’s father Amit Shroff told TOI.
“Soon, he started playing on the chess board. Within a week, he defeated me,” his father said, adding that he sought the assistance of the Gujarat State Chess Association for professional coaching to Dhairya.
Dhairya's coach Rajendrasinh Chavda said, “As he had already learnt the moves and rules of the game, my job was easier. I gave him tough match situations and he solved them with ease. Soon he resolved tougher situatio ns more times in a day. If he continues like this, he will reach the top level soon. ”
Praggnanandhaa wins Reykjavik Open chess
Reykjajvik: Young Indian Grandmaster R Pragganandhaa on Tuesday won the prestigious Reykjavik Open chess tournament here with 7. 5 points from nine rounds. The 16-year-old defeated compatriot GM D Gukesh in the final round to emerge sole winner. Praggnanandhaa turned things around in the all-Indian battle after his opponent blundered when he appeared to be losing. Pragganandhaa remained unbeaten through the nine rounds and finished with wins over Matthieu Cornette (France) and Gukesh in the last two rounds. He also posted four other wins including the one over American Abhimanyu Mishra, who last year became the then youngest Grandmaster at the age of 12 years and 4 months. Praggnanandhaa (ELO 2624) gained 13. 2 ELO points from the win. He had recently hogged limelight after stunning world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in an online tournament.
World Blitz Chess Championship
Dec 30, 2022: The Times of India
ALMATY (Kazakhstan): Indian ace Koneru Humpy came up with a superb performance after a modest run in the initial phase to claim the silver medal in the women's section of the FIDE World Blitz Chess Championship.
She finished strongly, beating Zhongyi Tan, who won the World Rapid title a couple of days ago, in the 17th and final round.
After posting only four wins from the first nine rounds and being placed in the mid-40s, the 35-year old Humpy was in top form on day two of the competition, registering seven impressive wins and drawing with compatriot Dronavalli Harika in the 14th round.
She finished on 12.5 points, just half a point behind the winner Bibisara Balabayeva of Kazakhstan.
One of the highlights of Humpy's performance on the day was a defeat of China's Zhongyi Tan in the 17th and final round to dent her opponent's chances of adding to the gold medal in the World Rapid tournament.
Humpy had finished sixth in the Rapid championship which preceded the Blitz competition. She is a former winner of the World Rapid title.
"It was a perfect day for me with 7.5 points out 8 games, fetching the first ever silver medal in the women world Blitz chess championship!" Humpy wrote on Twitter.
Harika, who finished with 10.5 points had to settle for 13th spot while Padmini Rout was 17th. Tania Sachdev ended up 21st and B Savitha Shri, winner of a bronze in the Rapid championship was placed 33rd with 9.5 points in a strong field.
In the Open event, won by world No.1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway with 16 points, no Indian player could manage a top-10 finish.
The experienced P Harikrishna was the best Indian in the Open section, taking a 17th place finish with 13 points with Nihal Sarin a spot behind with an equal number of points.
Fast-rising Arjun Erigaisi, the highest seeded Indian here, wound up 42nd after a patchy display which saw him lose games 16, 17 and 18. Compatriot Vidit Santosh Gujrathi's form was also up and down and he finished a lowly 90th.
Carlsen added the Blitz title to the world rapid title he won.
Despite suffering reverses at the hands of Russian players Ian Nepomniatchi in the 15th round and Alexey Sarana, the Norwegian won his games in the 20th and 21st rounds against Aleksandr Shimanov and Uzbekistan's Nodirbek Abdusattorov to finish a point clear of Hikaru Nakamura (15 points).
Indian players performance in World Blitz tournament:
Women: Koneru Humpy 12.5 (2nd place), Harika (10.5, 13th), Padmini Rout (10.5, 17th), Tania Sachdev (10, 21st), B Savitha Shri (9.5, 33rd).
Men: P Harikrishna (13 points, 17th), Nihal Sarin (13, 18th), Arjun Erigaisi (12, 42nd), B Adhiban (12, 49th), V Pranav (11.5, 58th), Aravind Chithambaram (11.5, 60th), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (11, 72nd), Raunak Sadhwani (10.5, 83rd), Vidit S Gujrathi (10.5, 90th), S L Narayanan (10.5, 92nd).
India Today.in , King’s Indian Defence “India Today” 5/5/2017
Three talented Indian chess players-one of them only eleven-are steadily climbing the world rankings
Perhaps due to the long winter nights, Icelanders are mad-keen on chess. With a population of only around 300,000, the country boasts 13 Grand Masters-the highest rank-and a total of 59 titled players. It's no surprise that the annual Reykjavik Open is one of the most popular tournaments in competitive chess.
But Indians are emerging as a force to be reckoned with. This year, a 16-player Indian contingent competed in the Reykjavik Open, from April 19-27. Holland's Anish Giri finished first. But 27-year-old Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta, who won in 2016, shared second place. Three youngsters-R. Vaishali, Nihal Sarin and R.R. Praggnanandhaa (Vaishali's younger brother)-stood out in particular.
Chess ratings are based on performances against other rated players. To be awarded a title-a lifetime award, like an academic degree-a player must earn a certain score across 25 tournament games. The highest title is International Grandmaster (GM); the second-highest is International Master (IM) or Woman Grandmaster (WGM). A Woman International Master (WIM), Chennai's Vaishali is 16 years old. An IM who scored his first Grandmaster norm less than a month ago, Thrissur-based Nihal is 12.
Eleven-year-old Praggnanandhaa, or 'Pragga', is the world's youngest-ever IM. He's tipped to become the youngest-ever GM, eclipsing Sergei Karjakin, who won the title aged 12 years, seven months. Pragga has until January 2018 to break Karjakin's record and Nihal could be among the youngest ever as well. Vaishali deserves attention in her own right. She had dropped off the circuit while she was swotting for her Class X exams and she's back with a bang. All three did well, winning and drawing matches against strong GMs. Nihal and Pragga both scored 6 from their 10 games while Vaishali scored 5.
Vaishali and Pragga's father, Rameshbabu, is a bank officer. Their mother, Nagalakshmi, is a homemaker. Fearing their kids were becoming TV addicts, they enrolled Vaishali in GM R.B. Ramesh's Gurukul Chess Academy. Vaishali says she now puts in eight hours a day. Pragga, who followed in her footsteps, prefers about three hours. Nihal's parents (both doctors) were looking for a way to keep a hyperactive kid occupied. His grandfather taught him chess.
GM Ramesh is India's foremost trainer, known for his inspirational and no-nonsense style. He says, "Vaishali is very talented and also level-headed and practical." About Pragga, he says, "He has a fantastic memory. He knows the mistakes he's made without being told and his analysis is very mature." Nihal also has a fantastic memory-he memorised every national flag by the age of three and knows the birth year of every active GM.
It can only be a matter of time before the titles begin to come in for this trio.
12 medals at Asian Youth Championship
Indian team ruled the roost at the Asian Youth Chess Championship in Tashkent, where they finished on top with a rich haul of 12 medals, including four gold.
According to information received in Chennnai, the gold medal were won by Aakanksha Hagawane (Under-18 Girls), Erigaisi Arjun (Under-14 Open), Jishitha D (Under-14 Girls) and Sahithi Varshini M (Under-10 Girls).
The silver medal winners were Sai Vishwesh C (Under-18 Open), Jyothsna L (Under-14 Girls), Rakshitta Ravi (Under-12 Girls), B Savitha Shri B (Under-10 Girls) and A R Ilamparathi (Under-8 Open).
Rohith Krishna S (under-12 Open), Divya Deshmukh (Under-12 Girls) and Tanmay Jain (Under-10 Open) won bronze medals. India topped the medal tally with a haul of 12 followed by host Uzbekistan (10).
World junior (Under-20)
Amit Karmarkar, Indians shine in World Jr chess, November 26, 2017: The Times of India
It was not India’s best performance in the World junior (Under-20) chess meet but it was among the most fruitful ones. R Praggnanandhaa, just 12, had a chance to become the world’s youngest Grand Master (GM) before finishing fourth (joint second) in the event at Tarvisio, an autonomous region in Italy, on Saturday. His Tamil Nadu mate GM Aravindh Chithambaram, gunning for the title, finished with a bronze (tied first). And GM Murali Karthikeyan finished seventh(seebox at theend).
It was not like the one-two that Abhijeet Gupta and Parimarjan Negi came up with in 2008, besidesD Harika’s goldin the girls’ section. The top six ranked juniors among theboys and top five among the girlswere also missing from this U-20 meet. Still, it was a heartwarming performance by the Indians. Praggu had played this meet as a special FIDEentry after his coach GM RB Ramesh requestedAICFtoconsider his case based on age and rating. Both Chithambaram and Praggu are from his Chess Gurukul academy.
Praggu’s sister R Vaishali, 16, is also his student. Vaishail finished 17th with 6.5 points in the girls’ section of World Juniors. Pune’s Aakanksha Hagawane was 11th withseven points. Rameshhad coachedIndian men’s team to their first ever Olympiad medal in 2014.
Another notable Indian performance came from 16-year-old Tarini Goyal (Elo 2062) who was the brand ambassador of gender equality through her deeds. She played in the Open (boys) section of the event and dared to suffer with just four points. She would have been the 52nd seed in the girls’ section but chose to be 131st seed among boys.
R Praggnanandhaa was in with a chance to create history. If he had beaten GM Rasmus Sven of Germany in thelast round, he could have won the World junior title and become the youngest GM ever. But he could only draw the 11th and last game.
Anand wins Tata Steel India Blitz
Anand shows class, clinches blitz title, November 15, 2018: The Times of India
Legendary Viswanathan Anand stepped it up in grand style to win the inaugural Tata Steel Chess India Blitz Tournament beating overnight leader Hikaru Nakamura in the play-off.
Placed fourth after the first leg on Tuesday, the 48-year-old had a dream run on the final day to secure six wins and three draws in the nine rounds to draw level with the world No 3 American Nakamura to force a play-off.
In the two-round play-off, which was faster than blitz in a reduced time format of a three-minute game, Anand won with white pieces, before drawing with black to seal the issue 1.5-0.5. “I wanted to show the audience what is that I do in some other parts of the world all the time and it was nice to be able to do it here,” Anand, who played in Kolkata for the first time after the third Goodricke Open in 1992, said.
“It was just the most magical day for me... Here, I did not have any problem with motivation. It genuinely meant a lot to me to do well here,” Anand added. The legend was also playing his first competition in India after being dethroned in the 2013 World Championship by Magnus Carlsen at his hometown.
“It’s long been a dream of mine. And we have ticked the other boxes, we have good opens, we have strong players. But the one thing that was lacking was frequent visits by the top players in the world. Now we have that. So it meant a lot to me to be able to play here in India and especially here in Kolkata,” Anand who played his first GM tournament here in 1986 said.
In the blitz category, the five-time World Champion of classical chess had last won a bronze medal at the World Championship in December 2017 Riyadh.
Asian Youth Championship
35 Medals at Asian Youth Championship
April 10, 2018: All India Chess Federation
India bagged Gold Medals in Asian Youth Chess Championships 2018 at Chiangmai, Thailand. In recent years, India has been dominating the Asian Youth Chess Championships. This year is no different, our young budding chess players bagged a total of 35 medals out of which 14 are Gold. This feat made India comfortably placed ahead of Vietnam which had 21 medals. China was in third place but far behind the top two with just 14 medals. More than 90 youngsters represented India in the six age-category Asian Meet played in all the three – Rapid, Classical and Blitz formats. Notably, 12-year-old IM Gukesh D. secured Gold in all three formats.
Kadam Om Manish (U-10 Boys)
IM Gukesh D (U-12 Boys)
WCM Sahithi Varshini M (U-12 Girls)
FM Raja Rithvik R (U-14 Boys)
Anupam M Sreekumar (U-10 Girls)
Bristy Mukherjee (U-14 Girls)
Vatsal Singhania (U-16 Boys)
Makhija Aashna (U-16 Girls)
Adireddy Arjun (U-08 Boys)
Rajanya Datta (U-10 Girls)
CM Kushagra Mohan (U-14 Boys)
Jain Nityata (U-14 Girls)
Sankalp Gupta (U-16 Boys)
Adireddy Arjun (U-08 Boys)
IM Gukesh D (U-12 Boys)
WCM Sahithi Varshini M (U-12 Girls)
WCM Mrudul Dehankar (U-14 Girls)
WFM Salonika Saina (U-16 Girls)
WFM Arpita Mukherjee (U-18 Girls)
Savitha Shri B (U-12 Girls)
AGM Srihari L R (U-14 Boys)
Koustav Chatterjee (U-16 Boys)
FM Mitrabha Guha (U-18 Boys)
CM Gukesh D (U-12 Boys)
FM Raja Rithvik R (U-14 Boys)
WFM Divya Deshmukh (U-14 Girls)
FM Mitrabha Guha (U-18 Boys)
WIM Aakanksha Hagawane (U-18 Girls)
Srihari L R (U-14 Boys)
WCM Mrudul Dehankar (U-14 Girls)
Sanskriti Goyal (U-16 Boys)
WCM Sahithi Varshini M (U-12 Girls)
WCM Jyothsna L (U-14 Girls)
Raahul V S (U-16 Bronze)
Asian Cup: Indian men, women win medals in standard, rapid, blitz
Archiman Bhaduri, August 5, 2018: The Times of India
India underlined their status as the continental powerhouse in chess by bagging a handful of medals in the Asian Nations Cup that concluded at Hamadan, Iran.
It was a comprehensive show by the Indian players with the men’s as well as the women’s teams finishing on the podium in all the three categories — standard, rapid and blitz — of the biennial team event.
India’s superb show on the chequered board, which came a little over a month before the Chess Olympiad, is sure to boost the country’s chances in the event as a number of players who will represent the country at the Olympiad also showed their mettle in the Asian Nations Cup.
The Indian women’s team comprising GM Dronavalli Harika, International Masters Padmini Rout and Eesha Karavade will also be taking part in the Chess Olympiad.
While the men’s team won silver in the classical section and bronze in rapid format, their women counterpart claimed the gold in blitz, silver in rapid and bronze in classical events.
The tournament began with the second-seeded women’s side comprising IMs Padmini and Eesha and Women’s International Masters (WIMs) R Vaishali and Aakanksha Hagawane, finishing with 10 points in the seven-round rapid event. The Indian girls won four, drew two and lost against China who ended on 14 points wining all their matches.
Abu Dhabi Masters: Sarin becomes Grandmaster
August 16, 2018: The Times of India
Nihal Sarin became the 53rd Grandmaster of India despite losing his final round game to Richard Rapport of Hungary in the ninth and final round of Abu Dhabi Masters. The 14-year-old Nihal tallied 5.5 points out of a possible nine and the final GM norm came the Kerala boy’s way with one round to spare.
Aravindh Chithambaram lost to Salem Saleh in a keenly contested Sicilian game in the final round.
Indian men finish sixth, women eighth
October 6, 2018: The Times of India
India had a disappointing outing at the 43rd Chess Olympiad with the men’s team finishing a poor sixth and the women ending their campaign at a lowly eighth spot here on Friday. Seeded fifth at the start of the event, the Indian men played out a 2-2 draw against Poland in the11th round,whilethewomen recovered some lost ground to beat Mongolia 3-1 after facing some anxious moments Both the Indian men and women’s teams finished their campaign garnering 16 match points each. It was a day of drama for the medal contenders but India’s hopes had waned once China and United
States settled for a 2-2 draw on the top board and Russian men beat France 2.5-1.5 to reach an identical 18 points.
The tie-break depended on the Sonenborn-Berger, the chess equivalent of Duckworth-Lewis though a bit less complicated. The tiebreak is based on each tied team’s performance against their respective 11 rivals and in the end China pipped United States to take the gold in the men’s section while the Russians ended with the bronze medal.
It was a double treat for China as they came back from jaws of defeat in the women’s section against Russia and the 2-2 draw was enough to win the gold. Tying with Chinese women on 18 points, Ukrainian ladies won the silver here while the bronze went to Georgia 1.
Anand loses in 10th round of FIDE Swiss event
Oct 22, 2019: The Times of India
Viswanathan Anand went down to Chinese GM Wang Hao in the 10th round of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss event at Isle of Man. The five-time former World champion’s loss in the penultimate round has all but ended his chances for next year’s Candidates scheduled to be held in March at Yekaterinburg, Russia. Anand’s chances now rest with the organisers who have one slot to fill at their discretion.
In the final round, Anand drew with Robson Ray in a clash that lasted 30 moves and finished with 6.5 points. World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana entered round 11 in sole lead with 7.5 points. Then there’s a group of seven players — Hao, Alekseenko, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Nikita Vitiugov, Hikaru Nakamura and Howell — who are on 7 points apiece. Caruana has already qualified for the Candidates — the tournament which decides the challenger of world champion Carlsen — and the player who will finish on top at Isle of Man (other than Caruana) will make the elite event.
While speaking to the tournament site, Hao revealed that a win was not on his mind. “I was not even thinking about winning this game. A draw was a good (enough) result for me.” However, errors on Anand’s part made sure Hao sealed the deal in 27 moves.
Carlsen remained in contention for the top prize.
Divya wins third straight U-15 title
Nagpur: Topping the table and ending up with silverware has become a habit for Divya Deshmukh. She scripted a record by winning the national U-15 chess championship for the third time in-a-row. While five players have scored a hat-trick by winning the senior national championships, Divya created history by becoming the first Indian player to claim the coveted trophy thrice in U-15 age category nationals. All India Chess Federation (AICF) secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan confirmed the same with TOI after Divya achieved the feat in the 36th National U-15 Girls' Chess Championship. AGENCIES
Humpy No. 3 in world
Humpy jumps to world No. 3 in FIDE rankings:
Woman chess player Koneru Humpy has jumped to world number 3 position in the latest rankings released by the world body (FIDE). The 32-year-old from Andhra Pradesh made a brilliant comeback after a two-year hiatus to win the FIDE women’s Grand Prix tournament held in Skolkovo in Russia.
Humpy wins world title in rapid chess
Dec 30, 2019: The Times of India
Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy, 32, claimed the World Women’s Rapid Chess Championship title after drawing with Lei Tingjie of China. Humpy, who had taken a two-year sabbatical from 2016 to 2018 after becoming a mother, won against China’s Tang Zhongyi to fnish tied on 9 points with Tingjie and Turkey’s Ekaterina Atalik.
Humpy lost the first tiebreak game, then won the second to reach the Armageddon game. She drew the black colour, which meant a draw would be enough for her to clinch the gold.
Isle of Man: Harika wins title
Prasad RS, Oct 23, 2019: The Times of India
GM D Harika lived up to her top billing by clinching the women’s title at the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss event which concluded in Isle of Man. Heading into the final round, Harika and Russian Alina Kashlinskaya were in the lead with 5 points each.
While Harika drew her final game against Matthias Bluebaum to finish on 5.5 points, Alina lost to Rinat Jumabayev.
However, Kazakhstan’s Dinara Saduakassova won her final game to finish on par with Harika (5.5 points) but the latter was declared the winner of the category on better tie-break scores. Her sturdy performance in the tournament earned Harika 23 points and took her ELO rating to 2518. To top that, Harika’s rankings too will see a surge — from 13th currently to 9th in the world.
“All the games that I played were against higher-rated opponents and to have done well in the competition is immensely satisfying,” Harika told TOI. However, the 28-year-old had to overcome a few off-board obstacles during the course of the competition. She was left with little time to prepare as her last competition — the FIDE women’s Grand Prix tournament in Russia on September 22 — had drained her.
“I became aware of the women’s Grand Prix at the last moment,” Harika said. Not only did it upset her preparations for the Isle of Man, she also became unwell during the event. “I was having headaches each day and couldn’t give my best at the Grand Prix,” she added.
To top that, her laptop was giving her a few problems when she arrived. “I had ordered for a new laptop but it had not reached by the time I left for Isle of Man. So, I was making use of an old system,” she revealed.
World Team Chess: Indian men lose to Russia in final round
India slip in final round, March 15, 2019: The Times of India
It turned out to be a disappointing final round for the Indian men as they went downing fighting against Russia 1.5-2.5 in the ninth and final round of the World Team Chess Championship on Thursday. Having done some real hard work to be joint second after the penultimate rounds, a 2-2 results would given Indian a bronze and a victory would have ensured the silver medal for the team. But unfortunately, the loss came from position of strength.
National champion Aravindh Chithambaram missed out on a great opportunity to beat Dmitry Andreikin on the fourth board and Surya Ganguly, despite trying very hard, could not convert a complex but advantageous position against Ian Nepomniachtchi on the second board. Both these games ended in draws.
B Adhiban did his bit and drew with Sergey Karjakin on the top board earlier in the day but S P Sethuraman lost a long-drawn game against Alexander Grischuk on the third board, putting an end to Indian hopes of a medal despite being among the front runners from day one.
World U-18: Praggnanandhaa is the champion
Oct 13, 2019: The Times of India
Chennai’s Praggnanandhaa is World U-18 chess champ
In boxing parlance, R Praggnanandhaa just wanted a hitabout with slightly heavy weight boxers. He could have easily chosen to play in his own age category.
But on Saturday, the precocious Chennai teenager became the World Under-18 chess champion when he drew his last round match against Valentin Buckels, a German. Definitely a rewarding performance for somebody who is just 14. He has also won the World Under-8 and Under-10 titles.
Praggnanandhaa remained unbeaten through the 11 rounds and when it was over, the youngster broke into a rare smile. “It is my biggest world title,” he said. He recently won a very strong GM’s tournament in Denmark. “In terms of rating, this victory (Mumbai) was very tough,” he added. He was the second highest rated player in the tournament and when one is in such position, managing 18 to 20 rating points is very difficult. He managed that.
Aeroflot Open chess tournament
Subramaniyam wins, Sethuraman joint second
Subramaniyam wins: Bharath Subramaniyam registered a win while SP Sethuraman was held to a draw to share the joint second spot with two others after three rounds in ‘A’ group of Aeroflot Open chess tournament.
Asian online chess/ Women: gold; men:silver
Indian women triumph, men settle for silver in Asian online chess Chennai: The Indian women’s team claimed a 6-2 win over Indonesia to win the gold but the men’s side settled for silver after losing to Australia in the final of the Asian Nations (Regions) Online chess championship here on Sunday. India had won the gold in the FIDE Online Olympiad in August. The victory by the women’s team sans top players such as Koneru Humpy and D Harika is another boost to the game in the country. The men, however, went down 3.5-4.5 in a close final to Australia after losing the first match 1.5-2.5 and sharing honours in the second duel 2-2.
Fide Online Chess Olympiad
Humpy, Harika in top-10
Humpy, Harika in top-10 in chess rankings:
Indian female chess players are keeping the nation’s flag flying high by figuring in the top ten in the world in two categories while the men are sliding down. As per the latest global rating list by FIDE-the global chess body, World Rapid Champion Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli are ranked as world No. 3 and No. 9 respectively in the women’s section. In the girls section R Vaishali is world No. 10. Incidentally, no Indian male figures in the top ten in the world’s open section.
Humpy takes India into final
Amit Sampat, August 30, 2020: The Times of India
Defence seems to be the best offence for India and its ‘Knightingale’ Koneru Humpy.
Exactly eight months after she became World Rapid Chess Champion in an Armageddon game while defending with black pieces, Humpy took centre stage as India fought back splendidly to beat Poland in playoffs and qualify for the Fide Online Chess Olympiad final.
A day after they entered into the semifinal by default, Indian masters had a poor start as Poland ran away with a 4-2 win in the opening round.
In a must-win second leg, India had a cautious start. Defending with black pieces, Humpy defeated Monika Socko to open India’s account and skipper Vidit Gujrathi, D Harika, Viswanathan Anand followed suit. India defeated Poland 4.5-1.5 to bring parity in the contest and force an Armageddon tie-breaker. In the resultant sudden-death game, Humpy won the toss and chose black — where a draw was sufficient but time management was crucial. Up against Monika, who helped Poland on Friday to beat Azerbaijan in Armageddon, Humpy defended well on time and posted a 73-move victory to take India through to the final, where they will face either Russia or USA.
“Our comeback victory was crucial. After losing the first match, we were under pressure to win and it was a very tense situation. We didn’t even have time for strategy but were determined to come back,” Humpy told TOI.
Earlier in the opening round, Humpy and Harika were held to a draw and Anand, Vidit and Divya Deshmukh suffered losses. Only young Nihal Sarin was able to garner full point.
India, Russia joint winners
Amit Sampat and Prasad RS, India, Russia joint winners of Online Chess Olympiad, August 31, 2020: The Times of India
After a lost connection and two forfeited games, an appeal to the World Chess Federation yielded success as India and Russia were declared joint winners of Fide Online Chess Olympiad on Sunday.
The much-awaited grand finale of this new event, an online rapid format in mixed category, was followed by a 64,000-plus strong audience but ended on a tame note. A technical glitch forced the Fide president to pass an equitable judgment.
The finale began on a cautious note as the 2419-rated Indian side held higher-ranked Russia — with an average rating of 2599 — to a 3-3 draw, that too without the presence of experienced Viswanathan Anand.
The five-time world champion returned for the crucial second round, where Anand, skipper Vidit Gujrathi and Harika Dronavalli split the points with their higher-ranked Russian GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dubov Daniil and Alexandra Kosteniuk, respectively.
With India’s fate hanging in the hands of World Rapid champion Koneru Humpy and U-20 boards —where youngsters Divya Deshmukh and Nihal Sarin had the upper hand — an unprecedented event of connection error happened.
Within seconds, both Divya and Nihal were declared defeated as they “lost connection to their games and forfeited on time”. Both Divya and Nihal had no time to make their moves while their opponents Polina Shuvalova and Andrey Esipenko had 1.22 and 1.31 minutes left on clock. Both the games were played for 25 moves.
On the third board, Humpy was two pawns down in a doublerook endgame and lost with her black pieces to Aleksandra Goryachkina in 88 moves. Thereafter, the India team lodged an official appeal on the two games they “forfeited on time.”
In an official statement, the Fide president Arkady Dvorkovich said, “The Online Chess Olympiad has been impacted by a global Internet outage that severely affected several countries, including India. The appeals committee has examined all the evidence. As Fide president, I made the decision to award gold medals to both teams.”
An elated Anand said, “You can’t make this up. You can’t write a script for this.”
In a chat with TOI, Humpy said, “Well, it’s a strange feeling to be declared as joint winners due to server breakdown. Our team has given its best performance in the history of Olympiad and I am happy that we are rewarded for our hard work.”
Relieved with the end result, Divya said, “Couldn't be more happy. This tournament has taught me lessons I will keep with myself for life. Honour playing with legendary teammates and amazing opponents. Congrats Russia and Team India.”
Earlier, in the opening round India held Russia 3-3. Vidit was the first to hold higher ranked Nepomniachtchi in 37 moves. In a thriller of a tie played between the World Rapid and Blitz champion, Koneru Humpy and Lagno Kateryna, the latter managed to save the game. The champion masters’ game ended in a 48-move draw.
Harika forced Kosteniuk to split the points in 48 moves.
Gibraltar chess: 4 Indians in joint 2nd spot
Four Indians in joint 2nd spot in Gibraltar chess
Gibraltar: Teen sensation R Praggnanandhaa drew his penultimate round game against Russian Mikhail Kobalia to hold on to the joint second spot, along with four other Indians, in the 18th Gibraltar Chess Festival here. Five players shared the lead with seven points after nine rounds in the Masters category of the event on Wednesday. Wang Hao, David Paravyan, Parham Maghsoodloo, Mustafa Yilmaz and Andrey Esipenko formed the leaders’ pack with seven points. A 16-player pack, including four Indians -- B Adhiban, Praggnanandhaa, Karthikeyan Murali and Aryan Chopra --, is close behind on 6.5 points.
YYoung Indian Grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa registered his fourth win on the trot, beating compatriot Ravi Teja in the 18th Gibraltar Chess festival.
After a defeat at the hands of compatriot P V Nandhidhaa in the opening round, Praggnanandhaa’s remarkable turnaround continued with the fifth round win against Teja. He is now joint second with 11 others, including K Sasikiran and SL Narayanan, on four points. Five players now share the lead on 4.5 points from five rounds.
Playing with black pieces, Praggnanandhaa (ELO rating 2602) crushed Teja. “Today, I prepared this move h5, which was played by Ding Liren at the World Cup and then by many others,” he said.
However, Praggnanandhaa’s compatriot D. Gukesh, the world’s second youngest GM ever, went down to Gwain Jones in 26 moves
Praggnanandhaa stuns former world champion Topalov Gibraltar: Young Indian Grand Master R Praggnanandhaa pulled off a huge upset, beating former world champion Veselin Topalov in the sixth round of the 18th Gibraltar chess festival to record his fifth straight win here. The 14-year old Chennai lad needed just 33 moves to put it across the Bulgarian. He had started with a loss against compatriot P V Nandhidhaa but since then he has been on a winning spree.
Hastings Congress: Magesh Chandran wins title
Magesh Chandran wins chess meet in England:
India’s P Magesh Chandran remained unbeaten in nine rounds to win the title in the 95th edition of the prestigious Hastings International Chess Congress in Hastings, England. The 36-year old Grand Master with a FIDE rating of 2479, remained unbeaten and finished in clear first place with 7.5 points from nine games after securing a 33-move draw in the final round against compatriot G A Stany, also a GM.
The Indians’ final ranks
Aryan best among Indians as Paravyan claims title, February 1, 2020: The Times of India
Draws in the final round forced R Praggnanandhaa and three other Indians out of title contention in the Masters category of 18th Gibraltar chess festival here. Grandmaster Aryan Chopra secured the best finish among the Indians, taking the 11th place while Karthikeyan Murali was 13th. The experienced K Sasikiran took 18th spot while Praggnanandhaa was 20th.
Twenty-one-year old Russian David Paravyan beat compatriot Andrey Esipenko and China’s Wango Hao in the tie-break to emerge champion following a play-off late on Thursday. Four players got into the play-offs after six had finished tied first on 7.5 points. Apart from Praggnanandhaa, Adhiban, Murali and Chopra all finished with 7 points, just missing out in the title race.
Praggnanandhaa was involved in a marathon 116-move game against Ivan Saric in the 10th round but could not force a win. He had bounced back strongly after losing in the first round by posting five wins on the trot but appeared to lose steam in the final stretch. Paravyan remained unbeaten in the tournament to record his biggest title win so far and a pay cheque of 30,000 pound. AGENCIES
Online Nations Cup: India finishes fifth
China wins Online Nations Cup, India finish fifth, May 11, 2020: The Times of India
Top-seed China were crowned champions at the FIDE Online Nations Cup by virtue of superior points tally despite their final match against the USA ending in 2-2 draw. India which had Viswanathan Anand, Vidit Gujrathi, P Harikrishna, B Adhiban, Koneru Humpy and D Harika in its ranks, finished a poor fifth in the six-team event.
China won the top prize on the basis of having won the round-robin stage. The No. 1 seed had topped the league table after 10 rounds with 17 match points and 25.5 board points followed by USA (13 MPs, 22 BPs).
In the final, the top board clash between the heavyweights Ding Liren (Elo 2836) and Hikaru Nakamura (Elo 2829) ended in a 38-move draw. The match featuring Hou Yifan and Irina Krush also saw honours being shared.
The win for China came from Yu Yangyi, who was consistent through the tournament, as he beat Wesley So. American Fabiano Caruana showed why he is rated so highly by beating Wei Yi in 43 moves. PTI
Prague Chess Festival
Gujrathi loses playoff in Prague
Indian Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi lost his play-off game to finish second in the Prague Chess Festival. After an exciting final round, five players, including Gujrathi, finished in tied top place with five points from nine rounds. G Akash won the Open event at the Prague Chess Festival here on Saturday. Akash was unbeaten in nine rounds.
Women’s Grand Prix: Harika finishes 7th
Harika draws with Mariya, finishes 7th Lausanne:
Indian Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika finished seventh in the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix chess tournament after a draw against Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine in the final round here on Friday. The 25-move draw meant Harika finished the event with 5.5 points and took seventh place in the final standings. Mariya Muzychuk, a former world champion, and Bulgarian Antoaneta Stefanova also ended up with 5.5 points.
Women’s Speed Chess
Humpy beats world No. 1 Yifan, enters final
Humpy beats world No. 1 Yifan, enters final
Chennai: India’s top player Koneru Humpy pulled off a 6-5 win over world No. 1 Hou Yifan of China on Friday to reach the final of the fourth and final leg of the Women’s Speed Chess Championships. Humpy, the world rapid champion, overcame her Chinese opponent in a close match with the Indian winning the decisive game. The Indian, ranked No. 2, won the opening game. However, Yifan fought back and the players were involved in a close battle. Humpy, however, held her nerve to advance.
World youth chess: 3 gold, 1 bronze for India
Amit Sampat, December 23, 2020: The Times of India
India’s best junior Grandmasters (GM) Nihal Sarin, D Gukesh and Women International Master (WIM) Rakshitta Ravi recorded identical victories to clinch a gold medal each in the Fide Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid chess championships on Tuesday. While Gukesh carved out a thrilling triumph in an Armageddon decider against Russian IM Murzin Volodar, both Nihal and Rakshitta ruled with thumping 1.5-0.5 victories over Armenian GM Sargsyan Shant and Chinese WIM Song Yuxin. After playing out a first round draw in the summit clash, both Nihal and Rakshitta registered victories in contrasting fashion in the second essay. Unseeded Mrinmoy Rajkhowa concluded the day with yet another medal for India. He pocketed a bronze in the U-10 Open group.
In the first round of U-18 Open section, Nihal defended well with his black pieces to split the points in 46 moves before he lived up to his billing to get the better of 4th seed Shant, while utilizing the opening advantage with white pieces. Nihal took 58 moves to win the second round and claim yet another world crown.
In contrast, Rakshitta had a relatively easy outing. Rakshitta held Chinese Song in a 39-move opening round while defending with black pieces.
Amit Sampat, December 24, 2020: The Times of India
India’s best juniors — Grandmasters (GM) Nihal Sarin, D Gukesh (in pic) and Women International Master (WIM) Rakshitta Ravi — recorded rousing victories to clinch a gold medal each in the Fide Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid chess.
While young Gukesh D carved out a thrilling triumph in an Armageddon decider against Russian IM Murzin Volodar, Nihal and Rakshitta won convincingly 1.5-0.5 over Armenian GM Sargsyan Shant and Chinese WIM Song Yuxin respectively. After playing out a first round draw in the summit clash, both Nihal and Rakshitta registered victories in contrasting fashion in the second essay. Unseeded Mrinmoy Rajkhowa concluded the day with a bronze medal for India.
In the first round of U-18 Open section final, Nihal defended well with his black pieces to split the points in 46 moves before living up to his billing to beat the 4th seed Shant while utilizing the opening advantage with white pieces. Nihal took 58 moves to win the second round and claim yet another world crown. “I am very happy about ending this year well. Hope it gets better next year,” Nihal said.
Indian Grandmaster S P Sethuraman won the Barcelona Open chess tournament title while compatriot Karthikeyan Murali finished third.
Sethuraman (Elo 2644) collected 7.5 points from nine rounds to emerge winner on the basis of a better tie-break score after Daniil Yuffa of Russia also finished level with the Indian player.
In the ninth and final round played late on August 26, Sethuraman beat Hakobyan in a Catalan Closed variation game.
Sethuraman, who was the top seed, remained unbeaten through the nine rounds, winning six matches and drawing three.
He finished strongly, scoring wins in his last three rounds, including over fellow Indian N R Visakh and Armenia's Aram Hakobyan.
“Elated to win the Barcelona Open 2021,” he tweeted after the win.
Sethuraman gained 8.5 Elo points thanks to the triumph while Murali (Elo 2606) increased his by 6.4 points. Sethuraman and Murali had played out a draw in the fifth round.
Murali won six games, drew two and went down to Hakobyan in the sixth round. He finished equal on seven points with four others, including fellow Indian Aravindh Chithambaram, but clinched the third spot on the basis of a better tie-break score.
In the final round, Murali outplayed WGM R Vaishali in 30 moves.
Chithambaram took the fifth spot while Arjun Kalyan (6.5 points) ended ninth, followed by Visakh in 10th place after a handful of players finished with 6.5 points.
Indian International Master N R Vignesh and Vaishali scored six points to finish 15th and 16th respectively.
Chess WC: Vidit Gujrathi in quarters
India No. 3 Vidit Gujrathi defeated Vasif Durarbayli 1.5-0.5 to reach the quarterfinals of the chess World Cup here on Monday.
The 26-year old grandmaster came up with an impressive display to tame his lower-rated Azerbaijan opponent, winning in 38 moves in his fifth round encounter. The two had played out a draw in the first game of the two-game mini match.
The world No. 22 employed the Ruy Lopez Arkangelsk variation against Durarbayli and held his own with black pieces to secure victory.
It is a breakthrough performance by the Nashik-based Gujrathi as he had posted some good wins on the way to reaching the last eight. His victories came against compatriot B Adhiban (round three) and Jeffrey Xiong (round four).
FIDE online Olympiad semifinals
India top pool, enter QF
Prasad RS, Sep 11, 2021: The Times of India
India qualified for the quarterfinals of the FIDE online Olympiad after topping Division 1 Pool B with 16 points on Friday. Hungary was the second team from Pool B to make the knockout stage. On the last day of the round-robin stage, the V Anandled side registered comfortable wins over Hungary (4-2) and Moldova (5-1) before drawing against Slovenia 3-3.
After going undefeated in the first six rounds, India were expected to be tested by the in-form Hungary in round 7. However, India notched up a convincing win over them. Anand defeated Viktor Erdos in 53 moves. Nihal Sarin and K Humpy too got onto the winners’ list after beating Marcell Borhy and Thanh Trang Hoang respectively. R Vaishali and D Harika had draws. P Harikrishna’s defeat to Imre Balog was India’s only loss in the round.lovenia.
India beat Ukraine, enter SFs
Prasad RS, Sep 14, 2021: The Times of India
India had to dig deep before overcoming the Ukraine challenge and make the semifinals of the FIDE online Olympiad on Monday evening. After the first match, India were up 4-2 before their opponents hit back clinching the second 3.5-2.5. The encounter moved into the blitz tiebreaker where the Viswanathan Anand-led side comprehensively won 5-1. India’s semifinal opponent will be the winner of the United States-Kazakhstan encounter.
It all was going India’s way in the initial period of play as they won the opening match with ease. The keenly-awaited clash between Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk ended in a draw. The two seasoned players looked solid during their 72-move encounter before splitting the points. Harikrishna, Koneru Humpy and R Vaishali too drew their matches.
India lose to US in SFs
Prasad RS, Sep 15, 2021: The Times of India
India went down to US in the FIDE online Olympiad semifinals. The Viswanathan Anand-led side lost the blitz tie-breakers 4-5.1.5. India had won the opening round 5-1 before US turned things around by clinching the second 4-2.US will take on Russia in the final.
The first phase of the clash saw India win the first rubber quite comprehensively. Victories for India came from Viswanathan Anand, P Harikrishna, D Harika and R Vaishali. Anand - playing with the white pieces - got the better of Jeffery Xiong on the top board. Harikrishna, on Board 2, was able to quell the challenge of Dariusz Swiercz. Harika kept her composure while defending a tough position before triumphing over Anna Zatonskih. Vaishali got into the winners list as well, beating Thalia Cervantes Landeiro in 38 moves. Koneru Humpy split points with Irina Krush and the Awonder Liang-Nihal Sarin tie ended in a draw as well.
However, US turned things around in the second round. Anand went down to Xiong in 35 moves on the top board. Vidit Gujrathi too didn’t have a great outing as he lost to Ray Robson. R Praggnanandhaa was beaten by Awonder. Humpy and Vaishali drew their games against Irina and Thalia. India’s only win in that round came from Harika who got the better of Nazi.
The clash headed to the blitz tiebreakers and US clearly showed their superiority. Xiong got them to a strong start by beating Harikrishna on the top board. Harika kept India in the hunt by winning against Nazi. However, things went downhill for India from thereon. Vaishali lost on time to Thalia while B Adhiban and Humpy were beaten by Robson and Irina. Nihal drew with Awonder.
FIDE World Women's Team Championship
Team Chess C’ship: D Harika and R Vaishali scored wins as India settled for a 2-2 draw against Azerbaijan in the Pool A opening round of the FIDE World Women's Team chess Championship. Harika, the top player in the absence of Koneru Humpy, expectedly won her game, beating Gunay Mammadzada on the first board. The promising, young R Vaishali, sister of teen prodigy R Praggnanandhaa, scored another point for India, beating Gulnar Mammadova on the fourth board. AGENCIES
Silver Lake: clean sweep by India
Amit Sampat, July 1, 2021: The Times of India
NAGPUR: India’s top teenage Grandmasters Nihal Sarin and Raunak Sadhwani registered a one-two finish in the Silver Lake Open classical chess tournament in Serbia on Wednesday, and Abhimanyu Puranik put the icing on the cake by claiming the third spot. It was a rare clean sweep by India in an open international rating event in which 131 players from 27 countries were vying for honours. While India’s top contender and 16-year-old Nihal lived up to his billing to clinch the yellow metal, collecting eight of the nine points, sixth seed Raunak and 21-year-old Abhimanyu finished at seven points each. Based on the Buchholz tie-break score of 51-48.5, Raunak won the silver.
Two rounds were played on the concluding day and the three Indian podium finishers won a game and drew a board each.
On the top board battle in the ninth and final round, third seed Nihal defended well with his black pieces to outclass Serbian GM Damljanovic Branko in 59 moves while 15-year-old Raunak utilized his opening advantage with the white pieces to play out a 41-move draw with Greece IM Kourkoulos-Arditis Stamatis.
On the third board, Abhimanyu outplayed Serbian IM Radovanovic Nikola in just 38 moves.
In the penultimate round, Nihal and Abhimanyu played out a quick 17-move draw to remain unbeaten while Raunak gained a full point against Serbian IM Boskovic Drasko in an intense 29-move, 3.5-hour contest with black pieces.
Nihal was elated with a winning start to his two-month European sojourn. In a chat with TOI, Nihal said, “Obviously very happy, I tried to give my best. Very thankful to both Akshayakalpa, my sponsor and Westbridge Anand Academy — especially Vishy Anand sir.”
Raunak too was satisfied with his show. He said, “Happy to finish second in such a strong field. It was amazing to return to over-the-board chess. I hope I can play better chess in upcoming tournaments.”
On his comeback win in the eighth round after playing three successive draws, Raunak said, “The game was complicated where I out-calculated my opponent. I also played much faster than him and that available time on my clock helped me a lot in the end. After three draws, I was just hungry to win, so I tried my best with black to win and I succeeded.”
Women's World Team Chess Championship
Mary helps India beat Kazakh, enter semis
Mary Ann Gomes did the star turn for India as they beat Kazakhstan to enter the semifinals of Women's World Team Chess Championship in Spain on Thursday. According to the webcast of best-of-two-sets matches (with provision of blitz tiebreaks), the first set of four games quarterfinal was drawn 2-2. The time control was 45 minutes plus 10 seconds increment.
Mary clinched it (2.5-1.5) with a win over lower-rated Gulmira Davrotela with white pieces on the fourth and last board in the second set. GM D Harika scored a pivotal win against GM Zhansaya Abdumalik. R Vaishali drew with white pieces while Tania Sachdev lost with black. That made Mary's game decisive. In the first set too, Mary scored a win and Bhakti Kulkarni had lost.
India in finals
Oct 2, 2021: The Times of India
India women will take on Russia in the final of the Women's World Team over-the-board chess championship in Spain on Saturday, thanks to wins from R Vaishali and Tania Sachdev on the third and fourth boards respectively in their second set of semifinals against Georgia.
According to the webcast, India defeated Georgia 2.5-1.5 in the second set of four-game matches after drawing the first set of four games 2-2. Russia won the first set against Ukraine 2.5-1.5 before winning the second set 3-1. There was a provision of blitz tiebreaks if the two sets would have been shared by the rivals. The time control in regular games was 45 minutes plus 10 seconds increment.
In a battle of WGM vs GM, Vaishali defeated Nino Batsiashvili from the black pieces while IM Tania scored a win with white pieces against fellow IM Meri Arabidze. In both cases, India's opponents were higher-rated.
In the first set, Bhakti Kulkarni lost on the third board with black pieces and Mary Ann Gomes, who starred in the quarterfinal win over Kazakhstan, won with white pieces on the fourth board. D Harika and Vaishali had drawn their games on the top board.
Bhakti's loss warranted a change in the second set as Tania was drafted in which proved out to be a correct decision by captain GM Abhijit Kunte. Though Mary lost in the second set, GM Harika held firm on the top board.
India lose to Russia in final
Oct 2, 2021: The Times of India
Despite GM D Harika's win with black pieces over GM Aleksandra Goryachkina on the top board, India lost the first set 1.5-2.5 to Russia in the Women's World Team Chess Championship in Spain. It was always going to be an uphill task for Indians in a must-win situation against their far superior opponents in the second set.
Russia won the second set 3-1 with wins by GM Kateryna Lagno (Elo 2550) and IM Polina Shuvalova (2510) against IM Tania Sachdev (2392) and Mary Ann Gomes (2354) on the third and fourth board respectively. Harika and R Vaishali had drawn their games on the top two boards against higherrated GMs Aleksandra Goryachkina and Women's World Cup winner Alexandra Kosteniuk respectively. Harika remained undefeated in the four games of semis and finals, scoring a sole win. But that also meant the lower boards had to rise way above their level to have a decent shot at gold.
For the second knockout match in a row, India played the third board with two players sticking to specific colours: Bhakti played black in the first set and Tania white in the second set. But it didn't prove fruitful in the final act. Though it was India's first silver medal in this over-the-board offline tournament, the format this year has been entirely different and hence it's not a historic achievement in its truest sense - ditto with online Olympiad. The women's team event was played in shorter time control (45 minutes plus 10 seconds increment).
Ajrun is youngest in 2700 club
Amit Sampat, Nov 10, 2021: The Times of India
Arjun Erigaisi, the 18-year-old Indian Grandmaster (GM), took the overthe-board Lindores Abbey Blitz chess tournament by storm in Riga, Latvia. Not only did he win the bronze medal in the event and climb 85 ranks to become world No. 31 in live blitz rankings, he walked his way into the prestigious 2700 Elo club, becoming the youngest member of the elite group.
In a strong field of 120 players including 94 GMs, Arjun started as a 39th seed. After toppling his higher-ranked rivals, he finished the seven-hour tourney at the joint second position and took his tally of international blitz rating to 2723 from 2616 Elo. In the 18 games that he played, Arjun gained as many as 107.2 points to become the youngest member in the elite 2700 club that has 37 players. The only other 18-year-old in the club is Alireza Firouzja from Iran, who is three months elder than Arjun.
Raunak: world No. 1 in U-16
Maharashtra’s youngest GM Raunak Sadhwani is now world’s No 1 chess master in the U-16 age group. As per the latest rankings of the World Chess Federation (Fide), Raunak was third behind Indian GMs Gukesh D and Praggnanandhaa R before the start of Grand Swiss international rating tournament. An excellent show in the 11-round tournament, where Raunak, 15, was given a wildcard entry, helped him jump two places and take the No. 1 position, according to the live ratings. He started the 2021 Fide Chess.Com Grand Swiss with an Elo of 2609.
February 24, 2022: The Times of India
Chennai: Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa defeated Russia’s Vladislav Artemiev in the 15th and final round of the preliminary phase of the Airthings Masters, an online rapid chess tournament, but missed out on qualifying for the quarterfinals.
The 16-year-old started the final day of the preliminary rounds with a draw against German Vincent Keymer in round 13 before going down to Hans Mokko Niemann (USA) in the next.
His stirring win over world champion Magnus Carlsen in the eighth round caused a flutter but up-and-down performances pegged Praggnanandhaa back. He finished 11th in the standings with 19 points with the top eight going through to the knockout phase. A 32-move win over Keymer saw the teenaged Indian GM finish the event on a high. Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi topped the preliminary stage, racking up 29 points while Carlsen overcame a few defeats to finish second (25), followed by Artemiev (24).
It is not a FIDE-rated event. Hence the performance in this meet won’t be counted for the Elo rating purpose. If this was a rating event, a win over Carlsen would have given Praggu a temporary boost of 16. 2 Elo rapid rating points. However, since he had more defeats (six) than wins (five), his rating would have remained more or less stagnant if this was to be a rated event.
June 12, 2022: The Times of India
Stavanger: Former world champion Viswanathan Anand scored a win over Aryan Tari in the ninth and final round to finish third in the Norway Chess tournament which was won by world number one Magnus Carlsen. The 52-yearold Indian chess legend won the Armageddon encounter against Tari after the classical match finished in a 22-move draw. Anand was made to work hard by Tari in the sudde n death tiebreak as he needed 87 moves to secure the victory. He finished with 14. 5 points to sign off at the third place behind Carlsen (16. 5 points) and Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (15. 5). The Indian GM started superbly, scoring victories in his first three matches (against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Veselin Topalov and Wang Hao) and then pulled off an impress ive win over Carlsen. He led the points table after the fifth round but appeared to lose steam in the second half of the tournament. A defeat at the hands of Mamedyarov in the Classical in round eight hurt his chances to a large extent.
Praggnanandhaa wins title
Stavanger: R Praggnanandhaa emerged winner in the Norway
Chess Group A open chess tournament here with 7. 5 points from nine rounds. The 16-year old GM, the top-seed, was in fine form an d remained unbeaten through the nine rounds. He finished the tournament with a win over fellow Indian V Praneeth, an International Master.