Chess and India: A special connection

By Aparna Desikan

July 20, 2022

Ever wondered what’s so special about India and chess? India has significantly contributed to the growth of chess right from its origin. In fact, some of the best chess players in the world are from India.

Image source: Wikipedia

The pioneers!

India is said to have introduced the earliest version of the game, called Chaturanga (Sanskrit word meaning 'four divisions'), in 600 AD during the Gupta dynasty. Today, 1500 years later, over 172 countries play competitive chess!

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National interest

Cricket may be the most popular national sport, but chess is not too far behind. There are more than a million chess players in our country, says the All India Chess Federation.

Image source: Wikipedia

Chess olympiad hosts

The number of chess enthusiasts is set to soar! India would host the coveted 44th Chess Olympiad for the first time in July 2022. This would see the highest number of participants from over 44 countries.

Image source: Wikimedia

Grandmasters galore

With the growing interest in chess, we also hit new records. India now has 73 grandmasters (a highly regarded position) compared to a mere 23 in 2010!

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The first grandmaster

Viswanathan Anand was declared the first grandmaster in 1987 and still has the highest rating among all the Indian grandmasters to date!

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Women grandmasters

Achievers such as Koneru Humpy (2002) and Tania Sachdev (2005) are among the 18 Indian women grandmasters. They constitute a majority in the list of international women grandmasters, which has 39!

Image source: Wikipedia

Children and chess

Budding chess geniuses like Ramesh Babu Praggnananda, who defeated Magnus Carlsen, Gukesh D and Nihal Sarin, are sure to achieve more laurels for India.

Image source: Wikipedia

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