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P. Karthikeyan becomes India's 57th GM

by Sagar Shah - 17/11/2018

India started the year with 51 grandmasters. The last ones being Thejkumar (50th) and Saptarshi Roy (51st). Since then a lot of youngsters below the age of 20 have made it to the GM title. First was Praggnanandhaa (52nd). He was followed by Nihal Sarin (53rd), Arjun Erigaisi (54th), Karthik Venkatraman (55th) and Harsha Bharathakoti (56th). Just when it seemed like the world of chess belonged to youngsters, Karthikeyan Pandian, born in 1990, 28 years old brought back some balance by becoming India's 57th GM. Karthikeyan is married to a chess player Harini Sankaran, he has a three-year-old son, he trains big talents of Indian chess, he is an employee of Indian Railways and inspite of all these responsibilities managed to achieve his GM title.


India gets its 57th grandmaster - Karthikeyan Pandian. Karthikeyan achieved his final norm at Third Saturday tournament in Novi Sad, Serbia and became India's latest grandmaster! The Chennai lad had already scored three GM norms and achieved 2500 Elo threshold in January 2017. However, all three GM norms lacked the minimum number of foreign opponents to be played in order to make it a foreign norm. Instead of trying to figure out the intricacies, Karthikeyan went ahead scored another GM norm and duly completed his grandmaster title.

Karthikeyan's performance at the third Saturday tournament in Novi Sad, Serbia, which gave him his third GM norm

Karthikeyan is married to Harini Sankaran, a chess player and works in Railways. He is also a father of a three-year-old boy and has coached many young talents, biggest one being D. Gukesh.

Karthikeyan is also the current Commonwealth Champion! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In spite of all the responsibilities of being a husband, father, coach and an employee at Railways, he has managed to achieve all the requirements for the GM title. Karthikeyan is also the current Commonwealth Champion. When we had asked Karthikeyan about the fact that he had missed out on his GM title because of technical issues, he said that his main focus was not on getting the title, but on improving at chess. "If I improves at the game, title is bound to follow!", were his words.

Karthikeyan with his better half S. Harini | Photo: Sagar Shah

Karthikeyan has recently started to close his eyes and calm his mind down before the game begins. This surely seems to have helped. | Photo: Sagar Shah

Now that's intense! Karthikeyan's playing style is aggressive and active and this can be seen very clearly from his games | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A big credit for Karthikeyan's success should go to Integral Coach Factory (ICF). They have been able to support another chess player to achieve his GM title

Watch the interview of Karthikeyan after he became the Commonwealth Champion in June 2018 below. Also try your hand at solving this position first before watching the interview:

Karthikeyan vs Watu Kobese, what should White play?
"You should be scared of success!" - words of Karthikeyan after becoming the Commonwealth Champion

ChessBase India congratulates Karthikeyan for this phenomenal achievement and wishes him the best in his future.

Here is an interview with Karthikeyan where you can see his calculating abilities


Karthikeyan and Tania Sachdev are Commonwealth Champions


A full interview with India's 57th GM will soon follow 

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