Unveiling the Enigma of Grandmasters: Eligibility, Criteria, and the Esteemed List of Chess Grandmasters in India

Unveiling the Enigma of Grandmasters: Eligibility, Criteria, and the Esteemed List of Chess Grandmasters in India

The Exemplary Rise of Chess in India: Crediting the Stakeholders Behind the Success:

Chess has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity in India, and this achievement can be attributed to the concerted efforts of various stakeholders, officials, and federations who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the sport a resounding success.

Inspiration from Viswanathan Anand: Grandmasters and the Layman’s Perspective:

Vishwanathan Anand, a world champion in chess, has played a pivotal role in inspiring the next generation of chess players in India. However, for the layman, understanding the term “Grandmaster” raises several questions. In simple terms, a Grandmaster is the highest title attained by a professional chess player. Let’s delve into the eligibility criteria and requirements for attaining this prestigious title.

Eligibility Criteria for Becoming a Chess Grandmaster:

  1. Minimum Elo Rating of 2500: Every player aspiring to become a Grandmaster must have achieved a minimum Elo rating of 2500 at some point in their career.
  2. Performance in Tournaments: A player’s favorable outcomes are determined by their performance in a total of 27 games during tournaments.
  3. Swiss Tournament Requirement: At least one result should come from a Swiss Tournament with a participation of at least 40 players, whose average Elo rating should be 2000 or higher.
  4. Elo Rating of 2600: To become a Grandmaster, a player’s Elo rating should reach or surpass 2600.
  5. Competition against Grandmasters: Aspiring Grandmasters must compete against opponents, with at least 33% of them being existing Grandmasters.
  6. Multinational Representation: Prospective Grandmasters must hail from at least three chess federations.
  7. Alternative Path: Players with an Elo rating of 2300 can also qualify for the Grandmaster title if they win the World Junior/Senior or Women Junior Championship.

Indian Grandmasters: A Remarkable Achievement:

India has witnessed a remarkable presence in the Grandmaster realm, with a total of 80 Grandmasters to date. Surprisingly, 40 players have achieved this prestigious title within the span of 73 years.

Notable Indian Grandmasters:

  1. Vishwanathan Anand
  2. Dibyendu Barua
  3. Praveen Thipasy
  4. Abhijit Kunte
  5. Krishnan Sasikaran
  6. Pentala Harikrishna
  7. Koneru Humpy
  8. Surya Shekhar Ganguly
  9. Sandipan Chanda
  10. Ramchandran Ramesh

Infrastructure Development and Growing Popularity:

The popularity of chess in India is set to soar even higher, thanks to the establishment of robust infrastructure by the federations and certain states, notably Chennai and Kolkata. These regions have garnered massive fan followings, contributing significantly to the sport’s growth.


The rise of chess in India has been exemplary, and the credit goes to the numerous stakeholders, officials, and federations who have dedicated their efforts to its success. With the inspiring influence of players like Vishwanathan Anand and the continued development of infrastructure, chess in India is poised to reach new heights, captivating an ever-growing audience.