Divya Deshmukh, Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh: The New Gen of Indian Chess is Transforming the Century Old Game

Praggnanandhaa and other indian chess players

What is common between Divya Deshmukh, Praggnanandhaa and D Gukesh? Before any one of them was born, Vishwanath Anand has already won the World Chess Championship (In 2000). However, the sport which has it’s roots embedded in the Indian mythology didn’t had a lot of takers (India kept on producing a number of Chess players but the sport didn’t had a mass appeal).

Currently, Chess is one of the fastest growing sports in India. And it is massively popular among the youth. Thanks to the surge of India’s next generation of Chess stars. As per a report, India tripled it’s count of Grand masters in the last 10 years.

Rise of Praggnanandhaa and the Next Gen

At the tender age of 10, Praggnanandhaa achieved a remarkable feat: he became the youngest International Master in chess history. And only after a couple of years, Praggnanandhaa faced his biggest challenge ever. A match against Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion. The frail-looking 16-year-old from Chennai emerged victorious, becoming only the third Indian to defeat the Norwegian grandmaster.

Divya Deshmukh

At 18, she’s one of the top female chess player in the world and the winner of World junior girls’ chess championship 2024. So it is after a gap of 15 years that India is getting another World junior champion.

D Gukesh

Another young gun who became a grandmaster at the age of 12. Gukesh made headlines in 2024 after he won the FIDE Candidates Tournament, securing his position as the youngest contender ever to compete for the title of World Chess Champion

Chess.com took the game online

Chess.com managed to take the 1000s year old board game online and made it accessible to the young athletes. Thus, giving millions of players across the country to join the growing community of chess players.

Youtubers and Streamers made Chess mainstream

During the Covid 19 lockdown, Youtubers and many Pro Chess players started streaming the game online. With top industry leaders, Youtubers and Pro players playing games on live streams, the popularity of the game grew even among the non traditional audience.

Path Ahead

The way Chess has grown in the country (both in terms of popularity and India’s performance in international tournaments) the 1000s year old game from the court’s of the Kings have found a way into the hearts of the commons.

Read More: This Is What Indian Chess Prodigy Praggnanandhaa Said About ‘Competition’ D. Gukesh and Erigaisi