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The Golden era of Indian chess: Players born in 1981-83

by Vikramaditya Kulkarni - 28/04/2017

Himanshu Sharma, born in 1983, achieved his GM title just a few days ago. IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni got nostalgic at this point and tried to recollect all the top players with whom he had fought from his younger days and how they have fared in their chess careers. In this article you get to know about the players born in 1981-83. In some way these three years can be said to be the golden era of Indian chess because the talents that were produced in this period still keep the Indian flag flying high in the world of chess!

Congratulations Himanshu for becoming the 47th grandmaster from India and 1st from the state of Haryana! Born in 1983, Himanshu comes from an era of players born in 1981-83 who have excelled at chess and have made the country proud on numerous occasions. (The numbers in the bracket are the years in which the players are born.)

K. Sasikiran (81) needs no introduction. Apart from being the four-time National Champion, he has won innumerable strong open tournaments and has also been Anand's second

Surya Shekhar Ganguly (83) became the National Champion six times in a row, Asian Champion and has been Anand's second in all his World Championship Matches that Vishy has won.

The fact that Sandipan Chanda (83) reached the higest Elo rating of 2656 shows what a class player he is!

Magesh Chandran (83) was stagnant for some time around the year 2000 but later became a GM, crossed 2600 and is respected in the chess circles for his understanding

Tejas Bakre (81) became Asian junior champion twice besides other achievements

Sundararajan Kidambi (82) was the practice partner of Sasikiran in younger days. He was excellent in academics. Later he slowed down a bit but he achieved his GM title.

Neelotpal Das (81) along with Tejas became IM quite soon but it took time to reach the GM title (2006)

R.R Laxman (83) was a sensation but left chess for some time for education around 10th or 12th grade. He then resumed and had a slow progress but with immense will-power finally secured GM title and is known to play exceptional chess on occasions.

Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (82) was always among stronger IMs but with persistence and a long wait for 2500, he attained the GM title 3-4 years back

S. Satyapragyan (82) and M.S Thejkumar (81) are holding three GM norms since a while. The latter made all his GM norms before becoming an IM. Satyapragyan was the only notable player from Orissa (after S.C. Sahu) for a long time.

K. Ratnakaran (81) has the GM norms and has been in top 3 in the National Premier Championship twice - no mean feat

Prathamesh Mokal (83) from Pune holds a GM norm. He now plays rarely and is a full time coach. He was good in academics and won the National Challengers in 2006.

And now Himanshu Sharma (83) after praiseworthy persistence has become a GM! He was also the National under-18 champion.

Three stunning names:

Three stunning and noteworthy names that I would like people to know about are Beenish Bhatia (81), R. Karthik (81) and S. Vikramjeet Singh (82).

In 1994 Natl u-14 at Andehri Sports complex most of these biggies were playing including Sasikiran. Ganguly and Magesh were playing in the national under-12 section in the same hall at the same time. Do you know who was the top seed in the under-14 section? Beenish Bhatia! He was the strongest then, but was good in studies and eventually left chess.

The surprising winner of this national under-14 that I was talking about was S. Vikramjit Singh from Manipur! He would travel 4 days or so just to reach the city where the tournament would take place. With sheer merit he had surpassed all the big names to win that national title. Later for some practical issues back home his chess suffered and now he hasn't yet shown his real spark. 

In national u-19 in 1998 or 99 when Sasikiran, Harikrishna, Bakre, Kidambi etc. were playing the boy who became the champion was R. Karthik (picture above) from TN! As pre-decided he soon left chess after this tournament.

This is the memory of my colleagues of 1981-83 who became IMs, GMs and made India proud. Himanshu's news made me feel like sharing it with you all.

About the author

Just like all the names mentioned in the article above, Vikramaditya Kulkarni (82) is well known in chess circles to be a special chesss talent. He is an International Master. Hailing from Mumbai, Viku (as his friends call him) is a great calculator. Based on his chess skills he reached a rating of 2465 in 2012. Currently he plays as well as coaches. We hope that he too like his contemporaries reaches the GM title.