31-year-old Shyaamnikhil becomes India’s 85th Grand Master


In a momentous achievement for Indian chess, 31-year-old P Shyaamnikhil has become the country’s 85th Grandmaster. This accomplishment marks the end of a 12-year-long wait for the player who took to the sport as an eight-year-old.

Shyaamnikhil, hailing from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu, had secured two Grandmaster norms way back in 2012. However, the journey to his third and final norm, which he accomplished in the recently concluded Dubai Police Masters chess tournament, was a long and challenging one.

All you need to know about Shyaamnikhil

Despite coming from a modest background, Shyaamnikhil shifted his base to Chennai to pursue chess. His former coach, K Visweswaran, played a significant role in his journey. He made his first Grandmaster norm in the Mumbai Mayors Cup 2011 and the second one during the Indian championship as a 19-year-old.

However, the road to the final norm was fraught with missed opportunities. Shyaamnikhil missed a big chance to score his final norm at the Dubai Open in 2012. This led to a long drought in his career, with the player trying to make the final norm by participating in tournaments in Vietnam and UAE.

It was only in 2017 that Shyaamnikhil started playing tournaments in Europe. Despite the setbacks, he remained determined and continued to strive for his goal. He narrowly missed the norm again in a tournament in France just before the Dubai Police Masters.

Shyaamnikhil has stated that he wanted to play chess for enjoyment and has expressed admiration for chess legends Mikhail Tal and Garry Kasparov. With the long-awaited title now under his belt, he can now look forward to playing more freely.

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