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From one in 1987 to 55 in 2018!

by Sagar Shah - 04/09/2018

He travelled the path which no one else had. He became the first grandmaster of India on 3rd of September 1987 scoring his final GM norm at the Sakthi Finance tournament in Coimbatore. Vishy Anand is one of the greatest chess players that the world has ever seen, going on to become a five-time World Champion. Today, in 2018, India has 55 grandmasters and in the last two and a half years since ChessBase India began, the number of GMs has grown from 39 to 55! But back in 1987 we had none. Vishy Anand started it all and this article is a dedication to our great hero. It has the names and the photos of all fifty five GMs of India.

It was a land where no flower blossomed. Many tried, and failed. There were some seeds which were trying to sprout for years now. They were very close, but faltering at the final step. In comes freshness from Chennai! The young seed, who surprised everyone by blossoming into India's first GM. The barren land of Indian chess saw everything change. One beautiful flower stood across acres of land providing hope, courage and direction that this could be done! Exactly 31 year ago Vishy Anand became a GM on the 3rd of September 1987. There were so many guys before him who had tried. So many people who had the capability. But Vishy believed in himself and took bold steps towards becoming a GM. In 1987 he won the World Juniors in Baguio, Philippines to score his first GM norm. The second one came at the New Delhi event and the final norm was made at the Sakthi Finance tournament in Coimbatore which made him eligible for the grandmaster title on 3rd September 1987. This started it all!

Vishy Anand after winning the World Juniors and becoming India's first grandmaster | Photo: V. Kameswaran

Vishy Anand achieving the title made other Indian chess players believe that this feat was possible. Yet, nothing happened quickly. For another good ten years we had only three GMs. Kolkata's Dibyendu Barua became a GM in 1991, and Pravin Thipsay (the first GM norm scorer of India) achieved the title in 1997. Somewhere around 2000 came the huge outbreak. We had Abhijit Kunte, then Sasikiran followed by Harikrishna, Humpy, Ganguly, Chanda and so on! Each GM title can translate into a book. So many people have made countless sacrifices for players to achieve their grandmaster titles. And it is because of them today India has reached a stage where it has 55 GMs!

From one in 1987 to 55 in 2018! The image has the first GM of  India Anand on the left and the latest four GMs of India from 52nd to 55. All of them teenagers!



List of chess grandmasters in India

Grandmaster title is the highest honour one can achieve as a chess player. On 3rd of September 1987 Vishy Anand became India's first GM. After that the list has grown to 55. We bring you all the GMs of India along with the year in which they achieved the GM title. 

































Anurag Mhamal - 48th GM of India, 2017

Abhimanyu Puranik - 49th GM of India, 2017

Thejkumar - 50th GM of India, 2017

Saptarshi Roy - 51st GM of India, 2018

Praggnanandhaa - 52nd GM of India, 2018

Nihal Sarin - 53rd GM of India, 2018

Arjun Erigaisi - 54th GM of India, 2018

Karthik Venkatraman - 55th GM of India, 2018

8cross8 helped in compiling the list as they had published an article a year ago on the 47 GMs of India. We updated the list to bring it up to speed. As on 3rd of September 2018 we have 55 GMs.

Articles on Grandmasters of India

ChessBase India newspage began towards the end of 2015. Since the last two and a half years that we have been functioning, India has got 16 GMs! We are glad to be involved so closely with chess boom in India. We have covered each and every GM in depth and here you can find articles from Swapnil Dhopade who was the 40th GM of India to Nihal Sarin (53rd). The last two on Arjun Erigaisi (54th GM) and Karthik Venkatraman (55th GM) are still work-in-progress and will be published soon.

Interview with Swapnil Dhopade: 40th GM of India

S.L. Narayanan becomes India’s 41st grandmaster

42nd GM of India Shardul Gagare

Diptayan pulls it through

44th GM of India K. Priyadharshan

45th GM Aryan Chopra

Flash: Srinath Narayanan is India's 46th Grandmaster!

Himanshu Sharma is India's 47th GM and Haryana's first!

Breaking news: Anurag Mhamal is India's 48th grandmaster

India gets its 49th grandmaster - Abhimanyu Puranik!

The story of how M.S. Thejkumar became India's 50th GM at the age of 36 years

Interview with India's 51st grandmaster Saptarshi Roy

A chat with world 2nd youngest GM Praggnanandhaa

For the 53rd GM of India Nihal Sarin, the journey is more enjoyable than destination

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