India India India

Larry Christiansen's popular book, "Storming the Barricades" is symbolic of what is happening in the eastern part of the chess world. India, as well as China, have improved tremendously and have begun  break down the European dominance of the game whose birth can be traced back to ancient eastern civilizations.

India is certainly beginning to make their presence felt in the chess world as
GM Viswanathan Anand is leading the way. His influence as well as his promotions in India have helped to develop a young cadre of star including the production of 11-year old IM Parimarjan Negi.

Of course, young stars like GMs Krishnan Sasikiran, Pentala Harikrishna, Surya Ganguly, Sandipan Chanda, Koneru Humpy and now Magesh Panchanathan guarantee a bright future. India will be a force to be reckoned with and by 2008, could be vying for Olympiad gold. World Open co-winner Panchanathan earned his 3rd GM norm and became the 12th Grandmaster in the country's history.

GM-elect Magesh Panchanathan (Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

GM-elect Magesh Panchanathan
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

For many of the Indian players, it was the first trip to the United States and many of them scored well despite the time difference. The Indians could be seen watching each other's games or merely exchanging pleasantries. In the wee hours of the morning the Indian players also came to support Ganguly in the blitz tournament (left). Several American-based Indian boys were watching  his every move and seemed to be inspired by his tremendous blitz prowess. You could see the anticipation in their eyes.

Ganguly in blitz final with GM Jaan Ehlvest

Ganguly in blitz final with GM Jaan Ehlvest

Indians have  had a lot of success in Europe, but now they seem to be expanding their horizons to the northern hemisphere. The trend was started by by Abhijit Kunte's participation in last year's World Open followed by Harikrishna's  appearance in Bermuda and the HB Global Chess Challenge. The Indian contingent will participate in the strong Canadian Open which will feature players such as GMs Vassily Ivanchuk, Viktor Bologan, Alexander Moiseenko, Alexij Shirov and Alexander Shabalov. By playing such strong competition with the support of the Indian government and corporate sector, the nation of over one billion may be vying for Olympiad gold not later than 2008.

Editor's Note: In my own interactions with the Indian players, they appear to be pleasant, yet confident. IM Marani Rajendran Venkatesh was the first player I met.  I told him that India was an inspiration to players of African descent. I was most impressed with the humility and camaraderie of GM Sandipan Chanda, two-time Vice-Champion of India. I was able to conduct a short interview asking him of his experiences at the World Open.

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 7 July 2005