Aditya Mittal’s inspirational journey of becoming an IM at the age of 12
Born in September 2006, Aditya Mittal became an IM at the age of 12 years and 5 months when he achieved his final norm at the Aeroflot Open 2019. Even though it's just been seven years since Aditya started playing chess, the story of his achievements from a beginner to a master is worth narrating. ChessBase India author Paras Gudka made his way to Aditya's home in Mumbai and sat down with the boy and his family to know about one of India's brightest chess talents. Aditya's life is a story of grit and determination. In spite of innumerable obstacles, the boy overcame each one of them and has emerged victorious. A famous Indian GM made a prediction in 2016 that Aditya is so talented he would become a GM in six years. The way he is progressing, we think it might just take him three!
Fortune favours the brave - The fearless Aditya Mittal
In June 2018, 12-year-old Candidate Master
Aditya Mittal had an accident where he slipped and fell on the wet floor of a
temple in Ahmedabad just before the penultimate round of the Under-13 national
championships. He was in excruciating pain and had to be taken to the hospital
in an ambulance. Even in such a dire situation, all he could think of was his
next game where he would be up against Delhi’s Aaryan Varshney, the eventual
winner of the tournament.
Unfortunately, it was learnt that he had suffered fracture in one leg and left forearm. He was operated and was advised complete rest for 2-3 months, which meant lying flat on his back for the first few months with the plaster, followed by rigorous physiotherapy sessions to regain muscle mass. The immediate future, as far as his chess is concerned, looked grim for the little champ but did he take it lying down or did he rise to the occasion? Considering that he scored his IM norms in three consecutive tournaments between December 2018 and February 2019 and is now Mumbai and India’s latest International Master, the answer is obvious.
How did it all begin though?
From here, he started participating in
tournaments and even came first in the under-7 category in a district
tournament in Gurgaon before going on to become the state champion.
Aditya’s first big break came in 2013 when, as an unrated player, he won the under-7 national championship in Pune despite having missed the final round, also due to a fracture. Wanting Aditya to progress further, his parents sought out Chennai-based TJ Suresh Kumar to coach him through to the next stage. Their investment paid off when Aditya won the bronze medal in the under-8 Open category at the 2014 Asian Youth Championship in Uzbekistan and received the title of Candidate Master as a result.
He wasn’t as fortunate at
the 2014 World Youth Championship in South Africa, going medal less but
finishing in top 6. He later participated in the 2015 and 2016 editions of
the Asian Youth Championship in South Korea and Mongolia, respectively, winning
medals in both.
Buoyed by his potential, well-known Mumbai-based organiser and coach Praful Zaveri encouraged the Mittals to start taking Aditya to international tournaments as he was sure that he would do well. Nitish and Kusum made sure he was ready for the intense competition at that level by progressively entering him in C, B and A category tournaments in India. They also made sure that his studies weren’t being affected adversely before he could go international.
In August 2016, Aditya participated in his
first open tournament outside India—the Abu Dhabi International Masters
Tournament—where he managed to score 2.5 points from 9 games. By this time he
was rated 2140 and set on achieving his goal of becoming a Grand Master.
Aditya’s phenomenal rise in chess did not escape the notice of the top-most levels of Indian bureaucracy and in November 2016, on the occasion of Children’s Day, he was presented with the ‘National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in Sports’ by non-other than the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
What have been the main obstacles to his
growth as a chess player?
Aditya hasn’t been as lucky with his health
though – already having had to abandon two tournaments at their tail ends due
to fractures. With his most recent injuries, he also had to give up on
opportunities to participate in tournaments in Europe that had already been
In October 2018, after almost four months
of not participating in any tournaments, they decided to enter him in the first
international tournament in Goa and see if he could play while on a wheelchair.
He scored 6 points from 10 games in the Category A event, defeating two IMs and
drawing against one GM.
How did he celebrate after accepting a draw
in the final game in Moscow that made him an IM? By playing blitz games against
his opponent, Gukesh D. That is how much he and the other Indian youngsters
making their mark in the chess world love this game!
Aditya's chess career through pictures
Two gems from Aditya's chess career:
There are many beautiful games that Aditya has played in his career till date. We have chosen two over here. One of them is an all-time favourite of the readers and Aditya's fans - against GM Niaz Murshed. And the other against GM Semen Lomasov is Aditya's favourite. Let's first have a look at his beautiful win against GM Murshed form the KIIT Open 2017.
Aditya Mittal vs GM Niaz Murshed
In fact this game was so popular that Agadmator, the famous YouTube chess analyst, presented it on his channel and it now has 193,000 views!
Now let's go to Aditya's favourite game. It took place at the recently concluded Aeroflot Open 2019, where Aditya made his final IM norm.
Aditya Mittal vs Semen Lomasov
Articles on Aditya on ChessBase India
Aditya has been ChessBase India's key annotator for many important top level games. His annotation skills are phenomenal. You can know more about it through the articles given below: