Chess is believed to be originated in India and has been played in the country since the 6th Century A.D. India found its first Grandmaster in 1988 – Viswanathan Anand. Today, there are many upcoming and young Indian chess players taking on the world’s best.
Let us look at the top 10 Indian Chess Players of 2020.
Viswanathan Anand – Viswanathan Anand, fondly called Vishy Anand and Tiger of Madras, was born on December 11, 1969, in Chennai, India. He is India’s first Grandmaster (GM), who won the FIDE (the international chess federation) world championship five times in 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012. He was the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honor. Anand was also the FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion in 2003 and is widely considered his generation’s strongest rapid player. In 2007, he was awarded India’s second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the Indian history award. In April 2007, he became the world number one for the first time.
Harikrishna Pentala – Born on May 10, 1986, in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Harikrishna became the youngest Grandmaster from India in 2001 after winning the Commonwealth Champion. He won World Junior Championship in 2004 and the Asian Individual Championship in 2011. He represented India seven times at the Chess Olympiads between 2000 and 2012.
In March 2016, Harikrishna Pentala reached a rating of 2763.3, overtaking Vishwanathan Anand on the live Elo rating scale. In the last three decades, this was the first time in Indian chess that someone had moved ahead of Anand. Pentala broke into the world’s top ten players in November 2016 with a FIDE rating of 276. His current world ranking is 2719.
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi – Vidit was born in Nashik, Maharashtra, on October 24, 1994. In 2008 he became the first Indian who won the World Youth Chess Championship in the U-14 category, gaining the title of an International Master. In 2011, he earned his first G.M. norm after winning in the U-20 category at the World Youth Chess Championship. In the same year, after performing well at the Nagpur International Open, he gained his second G.M. norm. In 2012, he achieved his final G.M. norm at Rose Valley Kolkata Open, where he finished third.
Vidit won a bronze medal in 2013 at the World Junior Chess Championship (U20) in Turkey. In 2017, at Tata Steel, only Vidit from the Indian contingent succeeded in achieving his goal & won the Bronze medal. His current World ranking is 2726.
Adhiban Baskaran – At number four on the list of chess players is Adhiban Baskaran. Born August 15, 1992, in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Chessmaster came into the limelight in 2007 after winning the Asian U-16 championship, Tashkent. He won the Under 16 World Youth Championship in 2008 and the 47th Premier National Chess Championship in 2009.
In 2010, he earned the Grandmaster title. He qualified for the World Cup in 2013 after securing a 2nd position at the Asian Continental Championship, where U.S. GM Hikaru Nakamura defeated him. He also qualified for the World Cup 2015 but was eliminated in the first round.
On March 14, 2018, Adhiban won the 33rd Reykjavik Open tournament in Iceland, becoming the second Indian to secure the title after Abhijeet Gupta won in 2016.
Krishnan Sasikiran – Born on January 7, 1981, Sasikiran hails from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He learned chess from his father, S. Krishnan, at the very early age of 9. Sasikiran won the Indian Chess Championship in 1999, 2002, 2003, and 2013 and the 1999 Asian Junior Chess Championship in Vietnam.
Sasikiran earned the Grandmaster title at Commonwealth Championship at Sangli in 2000. He also won the Hastings International Chess tournament.
Sasikiran secured a gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games– team event. At the 2014 Chess Olympiad, he scored 7.5/10 points to help the Indian team win the bronze medal. He also won the individual silver medal.
S.P. Sethuraman – S.P. Sethuraman was born on February 25, 1993, in Chennai. Grandmaster Sethuraman won the Asian U12 Chess Championship in 2004. In 2009, he represented the country in the World U16 Championship in Antalya.
In 2015, he represented the country in the Chess World Cup and registered his victory at the Indian National Premier Championship. In 2016, he also won the Asian Chess Championship that was held at Tashkent. His current FIDE rating is 2644.
Chithambaram Aravindh – Aravindh was born on September 11, 1999, is the youngest Indian chess Grandmaster. He secured the second position in the World U14 Chess Championship in 2012. At the age of 12, he registered his victory at the National U19 championship.
In 2013, he secured his first Grandmaster norm after winning his first major tournament at the Chennai Grandmaster International Open for a performance rating of 2728. In 2014, he earned his International Master title, followed by the Grandmaster title in 2015. In February 2018, he finished twenty-sixth out of ninety-two at the Aeroflot Open. His current FIDE rating is 2641.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly – Ganguly was born on February 24, 1983. At the age of 16, he secured the International Master that was followed by the Grandmaster title at 19. He registered his victory at the Asian Chess Championship 2009 and prominently held the distinction of becoming an Indian Champion six times consecutively.
He has forty individual gold, twenty-one individual silver, and six individual bronze medals in National as well as International chess tournaments. In team competitions, he secured twelve gold, four silver, and three bronze medals. Some of his recent achievements include individual gold in Hunan International Open (2019), individual gold in World Team Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan (2019), gold in National Team Championship Kolkata (2019), bronze in Binhai International Open, China (2018) and bronze in Asian Team Championship in both Classical and Rapid in Iran (2018).
In 2005, he was honored with the Arjuna award and in 2015 with the ″Bangabhusan″ award, the second-highest civilian award of West Bengal.
Nihal Sarin – Nihal was born on July 13, 2004, in Kerela. He achieved the Grandmaster title at age 14. He is also the third-youngest player in history to cross the Elo rating mark of 2600, accomplishing this feat at age 14.
In 2014, Nihal was the world U10 champion. He secured first place in the world U12 championship in Porto Carras, Greece taking the silver medal on a tie in 2015. His current FIDE rating is 2620.
S.L. Narayanan – Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan, born in 1998, is an Indian chess player with Grandmaster’s title (G.M.). In 2016, he won the bronze medal in the World Junior Chess Championship held at Bhubaneswar.
In 2019, S.L. Narayanan won his first international tournament at the Ellobregat Open. He performed at an Elo rating of 2712 in Barcelona, Spain.
Narayanan performed well at the FIDE Grand Swiss 2019 held at the Isle of Man, where he faced players with the Elo rating of 2650 and above. He also qualified for the 2019 World Cup, where David Anton Guijarro defeated him in the first round.