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Tamil Nadu's P Shyam Nikhil becomes India's 85th chess Grandmaster

Published at :May 14, 2024 at 6:38 AM
Modified at :May 14, 2024 at 6:38 AM
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(Courtesy : Aditya Sur Roy/ChessBase India)

Ajay Gandhar

P Shyam Nikhil earns all GM Norms after 12 Years.

P Shyam Nikhil from Tamil Nadu has become India’s latest chess Grandmaster, The 31-year-old became the country’s 85th player to achieve elite status. Nikhil’s arduous journey, spanning over a decade, culminated at the Dubai Police Masters 2024 where he secured the elusive final norm.

Nikhil’s path to grandmaster glory was a winding road fraught with near-misses and setbacks. Born in 1992, he took to chess at age 8, swiftly rising through the ranks to become an International Master by 18. 2011 proved a watershed year as he earned two Grandmaster norms and boosted his Elo rating to 2490.

However, the decisive final hurdle remained stubbornly out of reach. “He was 2 pawns up but went wrong and that game ended in a draw,” recounted a source, referring to a pivotal 2012 encounter where the GM title narrowly eluded Nikhil’s grasp at just 20 years old.

At Dubai, Nikhil showcased his trademark solidity, including draws against elite opponents like Martirosyan, Sanal Vahap, Madaminov, and Emre Can. The decisive final round saw him face China’s GM Bai Jinshi, where a solid draw proved sufficient to secure the long-awaited GM credential.

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Chess has been continuously growing leaps and bounds in India. Last year 7 chess players from the country achieved grandmaster status – R. Vaishali, Koustav Chatterjee, Pranesh M, Vignesh NR, Sayantan Das, Prraneeth Vuppala, and Aditya Samant – achieved Grandmaster norms. Vaishali became the country’s 84th Grandmaster.

Young prodigies D. Gukesh, R. Praggnanandhaa, and Vaishali led India’s charge globally. Gukesh won the 2024 Candidates event to challenge World Champion Ding Liren. Praggnanandhaa finished runner-up at the 2023 Chess World Cup, drawing worldwide praise. Stalwarts Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi and Koneru Humpy also made their mark.

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