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Aradhya Garg becomes the latest International Master from New Delhi

by Shahid Ahmed - 23/01/2024

23-year-old Aradhya Garg became India's latest International Master on 3rd January 2024. He defeated GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (SWE) in the seventh round of Rilton Cup 2023/24 to touch 2400 in the live ratings. The talented youth from New Delhi earned his first IM-norm at World Youth Under-18 back in November 2015. Then he secured his second IM-norm at 15th Delhi Open 2017. Five years later, he earned his final GM-norm in March 2022 at 1st Guwahati GM Open. However, the 2400 kept alluring him despite getting very close to it. The final hurdle was crossed at the beginning of this year. Before that, he managed to score three more IM-norms. He scored all his norms in Open tournaments. Get to know about Aradhya's journey towards the IM title and he also selects his best games in recent times. Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

My journey towards the IM title

By Aradhya Garg

I finally completed all requirements to become an International Master on the 3rd January 2024. I achieved this by beating GM Tiger Hillarp Persson, a respected chess player, coach and author in a brutal fight which was decided by few critical moments when he was low on the clock. I must add that technically I won as his flag fell before move 40. With this, I crossed the rating requirement of 2400 and touched 2400 directly with this victory.

Aradhya Garg becomes the latest IM from New Delhi | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

My journey towards the IM title has been very intense with a lot of effort, persistence and hardwork finally paying off in the end. There is often a rhetorical debate among chess players about which one is easier to achieve: 3 International Master Norms or the rating of 2400. For me, it was definitely the latter which was much tougher as I had all the required norms by early 2022 itself! I had to wait for more than 1.5 years to finally hit 2400 on the live rating list to complete the rating requirements. In the meantime, I made three extra International Master norms while trying to get to the rating of 2400. In the end, I had six International Master norms.


I made my International Master norms in the following tournaments:

World Youth Championship Under-18 2015.

Zhanat - Aradhya, Round 8

Position after 27...Nxh3+

Aradhya Garg (2180) went for a bold attack 27...Nxh3+! 28.gxh3 Qxh3 29.Bc1 g5 30.f3 Rf4! and Black defeated IM Zhanat Saiyn (2409) in ten more moves.

Aradhya Garg scored 6/11, performed at 2390 and gained 117.2 Elo rating points en route his maiden IM-norm

15th Delhi International Category A 2017.

Neelotpal - Aradhya, Round 10

Position after 15...Nxc3

Aradhya (2230) opted to sacrifice a piece when he went 13...Nxd5 against GM Neelotpal Das (2462). 14.g5 h5 15.b4 Nxc3 16.Qd2 Bxb4 17.a3 c5 and soon Black went on to win the game.

Aradhya Garg scored 7/10, performed at 2435 and gained 56.4 as he secured his second IM-norm

1st Guwahati International Open Grandmasters Chess Tournament 2022.

Aradhya - Masoud, Round 8

Position after 18...Qxa4

Aradhya (2236) opted for rook and two minor pieces for his queen against GM Masoud Mosadeghpour (IRI, 2511) 19.Rxb7 Qxc2 20.Rxa7 Qxb2 21.Rxe7 Qxd4 22.Be3 Qa4 23.Bxe4 dxe4 and White went on to win the game eventually.

Aradhya Garg scores his final IM norm at 1sth Guwahati GM Open 2022 | Video: ChessBase India

Aradhya Garg receives his final IM-norm certificate | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Aradhya Garg scored 8/10, performed at 2465 and increased his Elo rating by 61.4 points on his way to final IM-norm

Baku Open 2023.

Aradhya Garg at Baku Open 2023 | Photo: Azerbaijan Chess Federation

Aradhya Garg scored 5/9, performed at 2528, gained 54.6 Elo rating points and also secured his fourth IM-norm

Issyk-Kul Open 2023.

Aradhya Garg with his fifth IM-norm certificate | Photo: Anna Shtourman

Aradhya Garg scored an unbeaten 7/9, secured second place, performed at 2454, gained 33 Elo rating points and also secured his fifth IM-norm in the process

Qatar Masters 2023.

"I think Qatar Chess Federation has put up a wonderful show" - FM Aradhya Garg | Video: ChessBase India

Aradhya Garg scored 5/9, performed at 2513, increased his Elo rating by 40.4 points and secured his sixth IM-norm

Live rating 2400: Rilton Cup 2023/24

Aradhya Garg touched 2400 in the live ratings when he defeated GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (SWE) in the seventh round of Rilton Cup 2023/24. His live rating became 2400.2.

Aradhya Garg's performance at Rilton Cup 2023/24

I started playing chess at the age of 8 when my mother introduced me to the game in order to prevent my sister (who is 2.5 years elder to me) and me from constantly calling and disturbing her while she was busy working in the office. I was immediately drawn to the nature of the game, the strategic component and the competitiveness and thrill of winning a chess game.


To ensure that I move forward and pursue my passion forward, I was introduced to my first coach, FI Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava sir.

FI Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava sir - My First Coach and a guiding force all through these years

He was a guiding figure and has been a support from me throughout the years. Even now, we often talk together and I remember his calm and warmth in talking to me even very recently, such as after I did not have the best of performances in Abu Dhabi Masters 2023. He is also very often among the first ones to congratulate me for my achievements. We have a great bond together and he is truly like family.


I progressed quite well under his tutelage and got an initial rating of 1576 in July 2010. I steadily increased my rating up to 1901 by July 2011. He also introduced me to two coaches who had a profound influence on me, IM Atanu Lahiri and Mr. Nassir Ali Syed.

IM FT Atanu Lahiri sir - someone with whom time elapsed way too fast and someone who’s teachings have instilled deep meaning for me

Late Syed Nasir Ali sir - Someone who had a profound and lasting impression on me. | Photo: FI Niklesh Jain

These two coaches had a profound influence on my game. Atanu sir helped me with gaining an overall holistic development and also in helping to broaden my understanding of openings and taught me several important life lessons. He was instrumental in helping me through the years and has been a great mentor throughout. Nasir Ali sir meanwhile helped me develop a keen understanding of the game and instilled depth in my game to a considerable degree. He also helped me understand the intricacies of analysing one’s games, instilled passion for the game (which was key for my development.) He was an active strong player till his 90s as well. It was very unfortunate and tragic when he passed away in 2018 and I wish he would be smiling from the clouds when he gets to know about me achieving my IM title. With Nasir sir, we often played training games followed by analysing them and needless to say, the analysis often went even longer than the duration of the whole game!


I trained with these coaches till early 2013. Needless to say, they were instrumental in helping me increase my rating to 1942 in January 2013. From January 2013 onwards, I started to train from GM Abhijit Kunte sir and was also playing regular training games with IM Abhishek Kelkar who was also helping Abhijit Kunte sir regularly. With Abhishek Kelkar bhaiya, he used to help me in analysing my games and also created a very good bond. He would also sometimes help me in opening preparation during tournaments. He remains to this day a friend and someone whom I am very grateful for helping me throughout.

IM FT Abhishek Kelkar bhaiya - The one who helped me play training games, analysing games, opening preparations etc.

In November 2014, I started working with GM Tejas Bakre sir. He helped me through giving me useful databases, training me how to work on openings, helping me with calculation and being very cheerful as a whole. He remains a great mentor for me and I often take his guidance even in recent times.

GM FST Tejas Bakre sir helped me with opening preparations, getting tournament ready and is a guiding force till date

GM FST Aleksander Goloshchapov (UKR) helped me get a good positional understanding and form a routine for my everyday life

I started to work with GM Aleksander Goloshchapov sir in 2014 November itself. I worked with both Aleksander Goloshchapov sir and Tejas sir for quite sometime simultaneously. Both of them were instrumental in helping me win the National U-17 Chess Championship held in 2014 in Bihar, India. I also achieved my 1st International Master and 2nd International Master norm under their guidance in 2015 and 2017 respectively. I believe that Goloshchapov sir helped me to strengthen my foundations in chess, helped me to get a proper understanding of the intricacies of strategic play and helped me form a routine for my preparations. He also stressed on a lot of physical fitness for chess players and I still remember our jogging sessions at night when he used to come to Delhi for our sessions. We worked together for a long time till April 2017 and he still remains a great mentor and guide for me. I feel I owe a lot to him.


From 2017 September, I started to work with FM FT Visweswaran K. He was instrumental in helping me win the Indian National Junior Chess Championships 2019 and in helping me secure my 3rd International Master norm in Guwahati in 2022. He is a strict disciplinarian and is helpful and generous with his time once when one accepts oneself as his student. He also accompanied me to some tournaments (like in Kolkata Open 2018, Odisha Open 2018 etc.) and has often been there helping me with advice and mentorship all throughout.

FM FT K Visweswaran sir helped me instill work discipline and self-discipline considerably

GM FST Farrukh Amonatov (TJK) sir - The Coach who often went out of his way to try and help me

In 2019, I also began training with GM Farrukh Amonatov sir from Tajikistan. He was a very powerful presence and helped me considerably during National Juniors 2019 as well as during the COVID times considerably.


I still remember his sacrifices and help for me and for allowing me to come in International Master camps (despite me not being an International Master at that time but believing I have the strength to become one soon). Him going out of his way to help me was very humbling for me. He was also always very full of life and was very gracious always. I am grateful to all my coaches for the wonderful support they have given me and for being so kind and courteous always.

Killer Chess Training-their teachings and guidance have made a great impact on me for the past almost 4 years now! | Photo: Killer Chess Training

I am grateful to all my coaches for the wonderful support they have given me and for being so kind and courteous always.


I would also like to thank everyone who helped me in numerous aspects like mentorship, accommodation, taking care of me, helping me get through the tough times of COVID, my sparring/training partners who were always so happy for me whenever I achieved anything and were the first ones to congratulate me.


I would also like to thank my family who were there for me since the beginning. As I said in the beginning of this article, it was my mom who first noticed the spark in me and helped me pursue my passion considerably. It may seem odd to others, but my mother still follows my game always and no matter where I am in the world, we always talk after each and every game of mine.

Aradhya Garg with his mother | Photo: Niklesh Jain

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my school, Amity International School (Pushp Vihar) for providing me with leaves when I had to go for chess tournaments, for helping me with attendance and for taking care of me all throughout. I am especially very fond of the teachers I had and do miss them. It was also very humbling for me to go to our School Carnival in 2022 December and meet all of them and the joy and happiness they had to see me after a long time was truly humbling.


I feel truly blessed.

Aradhya's Best Achievements

Aradhya Garg has won a lot of accolades in his chess career so far. Here are the best ones:

Gold - Asian Schools Under-13 Open Rapid 2012

Silver - Asian Schools Under-13 Open Classical 2012

Bronze - Asian School Under-11 2011

Champion - 49th National Junior Under-19 Open 2019

Champion - Nurtr DCA Rapid Rating Open 2019

Champion - 25th National Under-17 Open 2014

Champion - NHPC Rating Tournament for School Students 2013

Runner-up - Issykkul Open 2023

Runner-up - 7th Batumi Municipality Cup 2023

Runner-up - Nurtr DCA Rapid Rating Open 2019

Runner-up - Imperia Structures Blitz Rating 2014

Second Runner-up - R Hanumantha Memorial Cup Rapid Rating 2021

Second Runner-up - CBSE National Individual Under-19 Mixed 2015

• Champion - Delhi State Rapid and Blitz Open April 2022, Rapid and Blitz Open October 2022

Champion - Delhi State Under-19 Open 2014

Champion - Delhi State Under-17 Open 2014

Champion - Delhi State Under-15 Open 2014

Champion - Delhi State Blitz 2014

Champion - Delhi State Under-16 Rapid 2014

Champion - Delhi State Under-12 Rapid 2012

Runner-up - Delhi State Blitz 2019

Runner-up - Delhi State Under-15 Open 2015

Runner-up - Delhi State Under-14 Rapid 2014

Runner-up - Delhi State Under-16 2012

• Runner-up - Delhi State Under-14 Rapid 2012, 2014

Runner-up - Delhi State Under-13 Open 2012

Runner-up - Delhi State School Team Under-15 2011 for Amity Pushp Vihar

Replay Aradhya's games


FM Aradhya Garg on his win against GM Adham Fawzy (EGY) | Video: ChessBase India
Aradhya Garg outplays Nitin with a terrific attack in the TLC system | Video: ChessBase India
Aradhya Garg on his win against GM Levan Pantsulaia (GEO) | Video: ChessBase India
Final moments: Aradhya Garg v Aryan Arora | Video: ChessBase India
FM Aradhya Garg on his performance at the 1st Bikaner GM Open 2022 | Video: ChessBase India
Tricky GM Stany from Trickystan could not trick FM Aradhya Garg - Gujarat GM 2022 | Video: ChessBase India
Former National Junior Champion Aradhya Garg shows his win over GM Karthik Venkatraman | Video: ChessBase India
20th seeded Aradhya Garg wins National Junior 2019 ahead of 5 IMs | Video: ChessBase India
Final moments: Sa Kannan - Aradhya Garg | Video: ChessBase India
The curious case of flag fall and accepting a draw | Video: ChessBase India
Final moments: Awadh Chaitanya vs FM Aradhya Garg | Video: ChessBase India


The article was edited on 4th February 2024

Related news:
Nikita Khoroshev wins Issykkul Open 2023, Aradhya Garg second

@ 29/07/2023 by Shahid Ahmed (en)

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