After Manual Aaron became the country’s first International Master in 1961, it took 17 years to find a second one, in V. Ravi Kumar.
Thanks to the rise in opportunities, the latest success-story in Indian chess surrounds Prithu Gupta who took to the sport at nine and became an International Master – with a Grandmaster norm to boot – before turning 14!
Indeed, this Gurgaon-based student of the capital’s Modern School (Vasant Vihar), has taken giant strides to cover the distance that lies between a beginner and an International Master!
After Tania Sachdev, Parimarjan Negi, Sahaj Grover, Vaibhav Suri and Aryan Chopra firmly established Delhi on the country’s chess map, Prithu’s rise holds exciting prospects.
For the record, Prithu became an IM and GM-norm holder at 13 months, 10 months and 23 days! Also incredible is the fact that he gained over 1300 rating points in under four years of competitive chess.
'Want to continue to work hard'
A lad of few words, Prithu lets the new-found attention rest easy on his shoulders. “I am not looking too far ahead. For any reason, if you don’t achieve the goals you set, it feels terrible. I want to continue to work hard and see how it goes.”
After learning from his first coach was Gurgaon-based Manav Saxena, Prithu gained from the expertise of Pransenjit Dutta, IM Somak Palit, GM Saptarthi Roy Chowdhury and another IM Roktim Bandopadhyay.
So far, the high-point of Prithu’s journey remains his performance in this year’s Gibraltar Masters. In a strong field, he started as a 139th seed and finished a creditable 83 after a series of eye-brow
raising results that fetched him 51 rating points!
Prithu drew with sixth seeded Vietnamese Le Quang Liem (rated 2737) in the opener, beat French Grandmaster Fabien Libiszewski and drew with three other GMs before beating Norway’s IM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen in the ninth round for the GM-norm!
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