India is the second-most populated country globally, so it only makes sense that chess is a beloved sport in the country, too. It has a chess association and national championships just like other countries do. It even has international chess champions who win tournaments every year against the best in the world.
To help you get better acquainted with Indian chess players, we’ve compiled a list of the ten Best Indian Chess Chess players in India. In this list, we’ll focus on each player’s skills, rankings, achievements, and competition record during international events.
10) Surya Shekhar Ganguly
Place of birth: India
Ganguly, Surya Shekhar is not only an Indian chess Grandmaster but also a record-breaking player who beat a Grandmaster when he was just 11 years old. Ganguly won 40 gold, 21 silver, and six bronze medals in his career during individual events. Also, he was a member of the Indian team that won the silver medal at the 2000 Chess Olympiad.
Parimarjan Negi, as a child prodigy, went on to become one of India’s biggest chess talents. First, he became Asia’s number one in his age group, but that wasn’t all — at the tender age of fourteen (and youngest player to ever hold the title), he also became an International Master. Then, at sixteen, he was the country’s youngest Grandmaster (second after Anand). But his meteoric rise through the chess ranks ended in the mid-2000s after Negi announced his retirement.
A teenage boy from Chennai, India, has stunned the world of chess with one of the most impressive performances in recent history. Against a field of players rated almost 300 points higher than him, he managed to get a perfect score of 7.5/9. This included victories over players like Michael Concio Jr and B Adhiban — two well-known grandmasters who were competing in the tournament.
Sethuraman Panayappan Sethuraman first garnered attention by winning the 2004 Asian Under 12 Chess championship. Since then, he’s broken out with multiple victories and has won two World Championships. These accomplishments have earned him his spot on the World Chess Federation’s top 20 players list.
At the 51st Grandmaster’s Chess Championship in Jalgoan, he won the title of champion of India after defeating GM Abhijit Kunte by a score of 5-3. In chess, not only does Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran have a trophy case filled with accolades for his accomplishments in the competitive playing field, but he is also a winner of the prestigious Arjuna Award.
Nihal Sarin, the second-highest earner of Akshaykalpa Milk, has propelled Indian chess to greater heights. This 19-year-old wonderkid became an inspiration to Indians across the country after earning the title of Grandmaster at 14, making him India’s second-youngest champion ever.
The Indian chess grandmaster has been making headlines for his top-class performances in the global arena. He clutched victory in the Tournament of Peace in Zagreb, Croatia, with a score of 7 out of 8 points. However, Adhiban’s most significant achievement is his status as the 2009 national champion, winning over Viswanathan Anand in the final. He had already dominated the open tournament circuit in 2008 and defeated a number of strong players along the way.
Vidit Gujrathi was born in 1994 in India, and since 2013 he’s been the fourth Indian chess player to become a grandmaster crossing 2700 ELO. At a mere 24 years old, he’s already had a prolific career. Sometimes referred to as “The Prodigy,” enthusiasts often describe Vidit as one of India’s most promising young players.
Harikrishna Pentala is a name that no one can ignore when discussing Indian chess. Harikrishna became one of India’s youngest grandmasters in 2001 at just sixteen years of age — a rare achievement for any player. Pentala had great successes in 2015, with a string of victories that drove his rating beyond 2700. This makes him the highest-rated Grandmaster of Indian origin, surpassing Vishy Anand, who held the crown before him.
Which brings us to the number one rated player in India, Anand, Viswanathan. Anand, (born 11D December 1969) is one of the top players of all time. Born in Tamil Nadu to a Tamil Brahmin family, Anand was India’s first FIDE-rated player. He started playing chess at the age of seven, made his first International Master (IM) norm at the age of 13, and became India’s first Grandmaster at the age of 16.
That concludes the list of the ten best Indian Chess players from India.
While there are many inspiring stories, it’s difficult to look past the achievements of Indian chess professionals. From Viswanathan Anand to Ganguly, each Grandmaster is a paragon of their sport with a long history of crushing opponents.
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