Musings on Indian Chess
May 9, 2006
India’s chess talents
For years, India has been producing some of the brightest talents in the game of chess. Consider the following:
• Vishwanathan Anand with an ELO rating of over 2800 is a Super Grandmaster and the World Number Two, trailing narrowly behind Veselin Topalov.
• From India, today there are eight GMs- Vishwanathan Anand, Dibyendu Barua, Pravin Thipsay, Abhijit Kunte, Krishnan Sasikiran, Pendyala Harikrishna, Koneru Humpy and Surya Sekhar Ganguly, nearly 33 IMs, Two WGMs- Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi and Aarthie Ramaswamy and 15 WIMs.
• Parimarjan Negi has set a world record by becoming the World's youngest International Master in the game at present.
• Krishnan Sasikiran is on the verge of breaking the 2700 rating points mark.
It must make you wonder whether the balance in world chess too is tilting noticeably towards India. Undoubtedly these are watershed years for the game of chess in the country.
But something seems to be amiss. In spite of India producing many chess whiz kids, very few have made the transition to the higher level and made an impression barring Vishwanathan Anand.
I am no chess pundit myself, except for following the game sporadically through Aravind Aaron’s insightful coverage of major chess events across the globe in The Hindu and The Sportstar. I am aware of the fact that there is a huge difference between Anand and the other Indian players at the moment and most of them wouldn’t even qualify to play him. But sometimes I am left wondering whether Anand should be playing in a lot more events in India to help foster the budding talents in the country. Except for a few promotional events, Anand plays very little competitive chess in India. Anand has certainly helped lift the profile of Indian Chess across the globe. But there is lot more talent in the country which needs to be harnessed to make India a chess superpower to reckon with.
Would the same logic of cricketers and footballers playing a lot more on the domestic circuit to help improve the standard of the game in the country apply to top chess players? I am not sure, but there should be some way of helping these young chess talents to realize their full potential. Ideas, anyone?
Did you know?
Most people (myself included) think that the ELO rating system followed in chess is an acronym. In fact, it is named after the family name of the system's creator, Árpád Élő (1903-1992), a Hungarian-born American physics professor and also a master-level chess player and an active participant in the United States Chess Federation (USCF) from its founding in 1939.
Read more about the ELO rating system here
The FIFA world football ratings are also based on the ELO rating system.