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The story of how Laxman became the blitz king of Indian chess!

by R.R. Laxman - 21/10/2017

R.R. Laxman was one of India's most prodigious talent. Born in 1983, he captured the imagination of chess fans by winning the under-12 nationals. In spite of being a brilliant student and scoring 1120/1200 in his board examinations, he decided to pursue chess as a career. But within a few years he began to regret his decision. His main problem was lack of self-confidence. Whenever he faced a strong and talented opponent, Laxman began to doubt his abilities. How did he battle this situation? How did Laxman overcome this weakness to become the 20th grandmaster of India. It's not without reason that the Chennai GM has earned the sobriquet of Blitz King! Read on to know why!

Overcoming your fears and coming out strong

By GM R.R. Laxman

Little Laxman (with the cap) and his elder brother Vijay sitting on the lap of their parents. Father Dr. Rajaram is an ENT Surgeon and Mother Dr. Roopa is a gynaecologist. | Photo: Laxman's archives

My father tutored and nurtured the passion for chess in me. I owe much of my happiness and excitement in life to chess. It all started with my first place at the National under 12 at Calicut in 1993. I was treated like a celebrity at school. My passion for chess was kindled at a tender age because of this.

Yes that's Laxman! 12-year-old receiving his under-12 national title | Photo: Laxman's archives

The unconditional passion for chess grew day by day coupled with the support and encouragement from my parents who monitored my progress in chess periodically. Despite scoring 1120 /1200 in the board exams in the 12th examination I decided to pursue chess as a full time career.

Brilliant in academics, yet Laxman decided to pursue chess! | Photo: Laxman's archives

Hence, I joined Bsc and M.A course in college which were relatively lighter than engineering or medicine. And thus my chess journey continued. I cherished pleasant memories of being trained in my school days by Shri Madheshwaran Sridharan (brother of IM Balasubramanium) and also had incessant training sessions with Shri Shantharam Natrajan.


Between the years 2000 to 2002 my performance in chess stagnated badly to the extent that I began to regret my decision to pursue chess seriously. I always gave too much respect to my higher rated opponents and this induced fear while playing them. If a player recently made some outstanding achievement I always began to dread playing him, as I felt inferior to him.

Wining the state event in his age category. The boy who had spread fear in the chess world with his brilliant play, was now on the receiving end. | Photo: Laxman's archives

My friend C.J. Arvind noticed this at the right moment and strictly advised me to start playing internet chess with IMs and GMs to remove the sense of fear. He knew that people in ICC and were only interested in playing blitz and nothing else. And since I was good at blitz Arvind was sure that I would slowly start beating them. This really happened as you know. Within a period of just 2 years after playing internet blitz with GMs and IMs almost everyday I was already a well established IM with a rating of 2424.

Best performer award at Railways | Photo: Laxman's archives

Between the years 2007 to 2009 I was a prolific winner of several open rated events in India. I was recruited under sports quota at Integral Coach Factory (ICF). Under the able guidance of Sri T.J. Suresh Kumar along with the support and encouragement given to me by ICF sports association I had the opportunity to make some mark and identity in chess. I achieved my GM title at the age of 26 years.

India's 20th grandmaster - R.R. Laxman (Photo: Priyadarshan Banjan, Illustration: 8cross8)

I thank the All India chess federation especially Shri Sundar sir and the late Shri Murali Mohan for their continued tireless efforts for developing chess players like me both in Tamil Nadu and all over the country. I cherish pleasant memories of playing weekend tournaments in Indian red cross society at Egmore organised by late Sri Murali Mohan. 

The current national blitz champion. Would it be wrong to call this man the blitz king of Indian chess?!

Making headlines in Indian chess

Newspaper cutting from 1998 when 15 year old Laxman resurrected Indian hope at the World Junior Championships in Calicut

GM R.R. Laxman was the first grandmaster in Indian chess to be employed in Railways

Two of India's speed champs matching their wits against each other in 2000. Laxman (left) was 17 years old and Ratnakaran 19.

Follow Laxman's footsteps

By IM Sagar Shah

Laxman who plays with the Playchess user id LAXMAN is a feared opponent on ChessBase's online playing platform. He has beaten many top players in the past and boasts of an online Elo of 2700+. I often try to follow Laxman's games on Playchess to get a feel of how a grandmaster makes intuitive moves in a game. One of the games that I followed was Laxman's battle against Nigel Short. It was played around 7 months ago. Although the Indian GM did not win this game, it was a very instructive battle.

What do you have to say about Laxman's 36.g4. Do you think it is a good move, or a blunder?

Black king looks dominating on d5. But White could have drawn the game by just waiting with 36. Ke3 as the analysis show below. 36.g4? was refuted in excellent style by Nigel Short:

Playing online blitz, as Laxman shows, can be highly useful. Not just for quick thinking but to also develop your self confidence. If you too would like to start your online journey, we recommend the ChessBase Premium Account which comes with one year playchess premium membership for just Rs.1499/-. Along with playing online, you will also get many other features like tactics trainer, cloud storage space, live database, online engine and more.

Who knows, perhaps some day, you too would be as quick as the Indian Elephant! (Laxman's previous playchess id!)

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