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The 7-year-old chess prodigy CM Kush Bhagat

by Sagar Shah - 16/02/2017

At the age of five years when little kids are trying to get to grips with basic stuff that has to be learnt in life, Kush Bhagat was busy winning medals at tournaments like Asian School. The boy is now seven years old and he achieved the title of Candidate Master (CM) thanks to his excellent performance at the 1st Western Asian chess Championship in UAE in December 2016. He is the youngest CM in India and one of the seven in the world. Get to know more about this prodigious young talent. 

Mumbai's Kush Bhagat added a new feather to his cap on Tuesday by becoming a Candidate Master (CM), a title awarded by FIDE. Achieving this title at the age of just seven years is a great feat.

Kush is one of the seven players in the world and the only one in India who was born in 2009 and has the Candidate Master title. Shefali A.N. and Suhaani Lohia are the two girls from India, born in 2009 and have a WCM title.
Kush is currently seven years old, but this picture was taken when he was five and had won the silver medal at the Asian Schools 2014!

The second standard student of Hill Spring school and a trainee of South Mumbai Chess Academy (SMCA) has been in a great form since the last six months. The campaign started with the Under-7 Maharashtra State Chess Championship 2016 title and continued in the world school Under-7 Blitz tourney where his performance has caught the eyes of every expert.

Standing with his city mate Rishabh Shah and holding the trophy of World Schools blitz under-7

Seven-year-old Kush made his presence felt in every tournament thereafter with creditable finishes in each format of the game. The highlights of his best show were his triple gold at 1st Western Youth Chess Championship 2016 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

At the first Western Youth Championships 2016 in UAE. This is the tournament that helped him win the CM title.

Triple gold performance at blitz, rapid and classical!

Kush with his proud parents Karan and Shilpa Bhagat

Karan, Shilpa and Kush with Vishy Anand at the IIFLW International chess tournament 2016-17. Karan Bhagat is the CEO of IIFLW which is promoting chess in a big way by being the sponsor of the IIFLW tournament in Mumbai.

Anand having a close look at Kush!

The above picture was taken when Vishy Anand visited the closing ceremony of the IIFLW 2016-17 tournament. Kush is playing a game against the under-13 winner Pranav.V. Vishy Anand enjoyed the game as a silent spectator as the two talents fought it out against each other. It was a great sight to behold.

The 30 second video gives you the feel of the environment

The little boy also played a one on one game against the five-time World Champion

Kush’s achievement of winning multiple tournaments and winning the CM title naturally made his coach Balaji Guttula pleased. “Kush Bhagat rightly deserves this and many more to follow in the days to come,” Balaji said. Kush’s mother, Shilpa Bhagat, former Mrs India, credited the boy’s success to his hard work and the academy’s guidance.


Here is one example of Kush's play when he was just six years old. The game is fairly well played and shows a good understanding of the positional and tactical principles in chess: 

[Event "Mumbai Wealth op U13"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2016.01.30"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Kiyarra, Sunil Khaturia"]
[Black "Bhagat, Kush"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B22"]
[WhiteElo "1281"]
[BlackElo "1102"]
[PlyCount "98"]
[EventDate "2016.01.28"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
[SourceTitle "CBM 170 Extra"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2016.02.25"]
[SourceVersion "1"]
[SourceVersionDate "2016.02.25"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. e4 c5 2. c3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. Bc4 Nb6 5. Bb3 Nc6 6. Nf3 d6 7. d4 cxd4 8. cxd4
dxe5 9. dxe5 Qxd1+ 10. Bxd1 Bg4 11. Bf4 O-O-O 12. Nbd2 e6 13. Ng5 Bxd1 14. Rxd1
Rd7 15. O-O Nb4 16. Nde4 N6d5 17. Bd2 Nc6 18. Rc1 Kb8 19. f4 Nd4 20. Rfe1 h6
21. Nh3 Nb4 22. Bxb4 Bxb4 23. Nc3 Rc8 24. Re3 Rdc7 25. Nf2 Bxc3 26. Rcxc3 Rxc3
27. bxc3 Rxc3 28. Rxc3 Ne2+ 29. Kf1 Nxc3 30. a3 Nd5 31. g3 Nb6 32. Ne4 Nc4 33.
a4 Nb6 34. Nd6 Nxa4 35. Nxf7 Kc7 36. Nd6 g6 37. Nf7 b5 38. Nxh6 b4 39. Ke2 b3
40. Kd3 Nc5+ 41. Kc3 a5 42. Ng4 a4 43. Kb2 Nd3+ 44. Ka3 b2 45. Ka2 Kc6 46. Ne3
Kc5 47. Nd1 a3 48. Nc3 Kb4 49. Ne2 Nc1+ 0-1


Kush is definitely dreaming big, and the CM title is just a stepping stone in the direction of much bigger goals in the future (Picture by Priyadarshan Banjan)
World Schools 2016 final report
Facebook post on Kush winning World School blitz under-7
Facebook post on Kush winning Western Asian triple

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