Ascendancy of Tamil Nadu: The Journey to Becoming India’s Most Popular Chess State

Tamil Nadu as “India’s Chess Capital”: 

The state of Tamil Nadu, often referred to as the “Mecca of Indian Chess,” has witnessed a remarkable surge in its chess landscape, leading to its recognition as the Chess Capital of India. Over the past few years, Tamil Nadu has produced an astonishing number of 26 grandmasters, a testament to the incredible growth and development of chess in the region.

The historical significance of Tamil Nadu in Indian chess cannot be overlooked, as it has been home to some of the early pioneers of the game, including the legendary Vishwanathan Anand. Anand’s achievements and prominence in the world of chess have been a significant source of inspiration for aspiring players in the state.


Another influential figure in the chess journey of Tamil Nadu was India’s first International Master, Manuel Aaron. Though born in Burma, his family’s migration to Madras (now Chennai) played a crucial role in shaping his inclination towards chess at a young age, inspired by his grandfather’s involvement in the game. Aaron’s founding of the Tai Chess Club in 1972 further contributed to the growth of chess in the region, particularly with its association with the Soviet Cultural center.

However, one cannot discuss the transformation of Tamil Nadu into the Chess Capital without acknowledging the pivotal role played by Grandmaster and renowned Coach RB Ramesh. Ramesh has emphasized the influence of Vishwanathan Anand in popularizing the sport in Tamil Nadu. He aptly described Anand as a one-man army around whom the chess universe in the state revolves. Anand’s charisma and achievements have played a significant role in drawing young minds away from screens and computers, serving as a strong role model and guiding numerous aspiring players towards taking up chess as a profession.

The chess ecosystem in Tamil Nadu owes much of its success to the proactive involvement of schools and colleges in laying down a robust infrastructure for budding students to pursue chess professionally. These educational institutions have recognized the game’s intellectual and strategic benefits and have actively supported and encouraged students to engage in chess, creating a nurturing environment for young talents to thrive.

In conclusion, the incredible rise of Tamil Nadu as the Chess Capital of India can be attributed to a combination of factors, including its historical legacy in producing chess prodigies, the influence of trailblazing players like Vishwanathan Anand and Manuel Aaron, and the dedicated efforts of key stakeholders, such as RB Ramesh, as well as the unwavering support from educational institutions. Together, these factors have propelled Tamil Nadu to the forefront of Indian chess and continue to foster a flourishing chess ecosystem in the state.