Start chess in your late teens and become a grandmaster?

by Sagar Shah
6/5/2020 – Today, young kids are becoming very strong very early and some even become grandmasters at the age of twelve and thirteen. They take to chess like a fledgling bird learning to fly. But can you start a serious chess career at the ripe old age of seventeen? Yes, you can, says one player, who managed just that. Let Shivananda tell you how this worked. Maybe you can do the same?!

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An excerpt from an interview with IM B.S. Shivananda:

Tanmay Srinath: You started relatively late in your life to take chess seriously but you still came close to becoming a GM. This contradicts Anand who said: "Grandmaster at a young age or nothing." How did you you become so strong?

B.S. Shivananda: Anand is my favourite player – I started playing chess because of him. In fact, our names sound similar – Vishy Anand and Shiv Anand! (smiles). However, on this point I want to disagree with Anand – to achieve something in life, age should never be a hurdle. If you are motivated enough, age becomes just a number. I did start relatively late at 16-17, but by then I was already a decent player – my initial rating was 2220. Starting late didn’t affect me – I always feel young in my mind. This is a question that has been hurled at me several times - "You started chess late in your career. Do you think you can become a GM?" or "Can on improve one's game at an advanced age?" It has not been an issue for me.

Shivananda playing in the U-25 age group after his late start with chess

Read the full interview with B.S Shivananda on ChessBase India by Tanmay Srinath

How easy is it to become a GM after starting out chess late?

By IM Sagar Shah

How should we approach this question? Young kids are the ones who improve at chess quite effortlessly and quickly, so it might be a good idea to see what is it that they do right.

1. I believe the most important thing that separates a young kid from someone in his late teenages or twenties is the lack of responsibilities and the single-minded focus with which you can pursue chess. A young kid is not worried after a game of chess about finishing his work. He is not socially obligated to be present at family functions or gatherings. He (or she) can stay back at home and work on his game while his parents ensure the best possible environment for him. For a person who has already hit his twenties or thirties, you cannot get such support from people around you. Most of the time you have a burden to find yourself a job or to earn a living and take care of your family or people dependent upon you.

2. Another quality which I admire in youngsters is the lack of fear of failure. Yes, you often see them crying after a game that they have lost, but most of the times they simply brush it off and are back on the chess board to beat their opponent in the next round. The ability to fail without fear is something that helps young kids learn new concepts much faster.

If you think about it closely you will realize that point 2 is actually quite a lot dependent on point 1. Imagine you are a 1.d4 player and you realize that it would really help you if you shifted your opening to 1.e4. All of you chess players know what a herculean task it is to change your opening repertoire. Yet, when someone advises a ten-year-old to do it, he more often than not goes to his next event, happily tries it, loses a few games, and before you know he is already getting good at 1.e4. When an older individual is asked to do the same thing, he begins to think about factors beyond the chess board. "Right now I have only four tournaments lined up before college begins, and I have to reach 2000 Elo, so let me play it safe and stick with 1.d4." or "The first prize at the next Open is ... If I win it I will be able to support my family with that income, so let me play what I know, we can experiment in less important events."

Shivananda in the interview says, "In the three years after my fathers death I worked for 10-12 hours every day, and didn’t attend any functions or parties. I would mainly practise on my own, with a computer, using a board and playing both the sides. With chess books as my companion I eventually became stronger. Even after I became a 2400+ player I continued to train this way because of higher ambitions. I was able to isolate myself and live in a situation which was conducive for chess learning and growth."


If you too can do the same, then becoming a strong player, even a GM at just about any age should not be an impossible task.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.


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AlphaMagnusGM AlphaMagnusGM 12/1/2020 07:34
AlphaMagnusGM AlphaMagnusGM 12/1/2020 07:34
Guys chill
Scorpion29 Scorpion29 6/12/2020 04:56
Saturn23 you have been smashed repeatedly for your erronous ways and yet you continue to come back? Get a life! All your stupid baseless claims have already been refuted by Indian Chess Player. I don't know what you have exposed!
saturn23 saturn23 6/12/2020 12:49
Scorpion29, how can you people can be so delusional? Why I would ever create a new account to say three words? I already exposed 'Indian Chess player' as dishonest and liar.
Scorpion29 Scorpion29 6/9/2020 09:44
Saturn23 has created one more ID to mislead the readers of the article. That much is clear. cbresearch is a very inventive name one must say! Yes, I call your bluff like Indian Chess Player, show us your research! The gold mine must of course be the Interviews on chessbase India, where the reader can verify all the facts that Indian Chess Player has stated! This is becoming a clear case of someone trying to defame Shivananda and Indian Chess. Chessbase should soon publish both the interviews here so that the readers are satisfied!
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/9/2020 04:14
cbresearch, you are telling "Everything you say is completely wrong" Hahaha. Any one can comment like this. The way you have written , it is clear that you want to mislead people here. Show some of your fake research,let us see.
cbresearch cbresearch 6/9/2020 02:25
Indian Chess Player, I did some research. Everything you say is completely wrong. Why do you do this? .
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/8/2020 03:13

You deliberately won't read things but want to comment at the first given opportunity.

Shivananda( Sivanandan) was born in 1979 only! So he is 40 years and some months now ( or 41 years and one month if the date is correct).In some sources, it is wrongly mentioned as 1976 due to following reason. ( this thing is already mentioned in the article I have quoted but as usual u have decided to skip)

When he went alone to his first Fide rating tournament in a city 700 kms away , being an out and out village boy he had no idea about formalities . The Chief Arbiter there wrote Shivananda ( correct spelling) as Sivanandan , because in the local language there( chennai) 'sh' is written 's'. They also normally add 'N' at the end every one's name.So in databases you will see games under both Shivananda and Sivanandan . The same case is with year of birth . Probably he wrote 1976 instead of 1979. Even the date may be incorrect.

And you think 40 or 44 are old age years! Many people have younger genes man. Please Go and study about Biological and chronological aging.
Just like Korchnoi ( may not be in his level, he was world no.2 for many years), Shivananda has almost reached Grand Master level ( this is proven)and undoubtedly has an understanding of that level , he just needs to increase points not his strength, do remember

Your approach is simple . You want to pinpoint even small or negligible mistakes of others. Now you may say " you have not put full stop at the end of the last para, so you are dishonest" I deliberately haven't put the full stop there!
I had to write this much because you were trying to degrade others including Authors of this article, chessbase editors , and myself. Remember criticizing is easy, running a quality chess website is not.
I suggest you change your mentality, use your time constructively, go through the games of Shivananda given here and become a better player. Thank you.
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/8/2020 02:12
(Continued from previous post)

GM Gagunashvili, Merab (Georgia)- IM Shivananda BS 0-1

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 e5 4. dxe5 Nh5 5. g3 Nc6 6. f4 d6 7. Bg2 Be6 8. exd6 Bxd6 9. Nf3 Bxc4 10. Nbd2 Ba6 11. Ne4 Bb4+ 12. Bd2 Qe7 13. Nc3 O-O-O 14. Qc2 Bd3 15. Qd1 Rhe8 16. O-O Bxe2 17. Qxe2 Qxe2 18. Nxe2 Rxe2 19. Bc3 Bxc3 20. bxc3
Nf6 21. Rab1 Rc2 22. Rbc1 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Ne4 24. Ne5 Nxe5 25. fxe5 Nd2 26. c4 Rd4 27. Bd5 c6 28. Bxf7 Nf3+ 29. Kf2 Nxe5 30. Ke3 Rd8 31. Rf1 Nxf7 32. Rxf7 Rd7 33. Rxd7 Kxd7 0-1

IM Shivananda B S -GM Laxman R R 1-0

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. d4d6 9. c3 Bg4 10. d5 Na5 11. Bc2 c6 12. h3 Bc8 13. dxc6 Qc7 14. Nbd2 Qxc6 15. a4 Be6 16. Ng5 Bd7 17. Nf1 h6 18. Nf3 Rfe8 19. Ng3 Be6 20. Nh4 Bf8 21. Nhf5 Nc4 22. Qf3 Nd7 23. Nh5 Kh7 24. a5 Qc7 25. b4 g6 26. Nhg3 f6 27. Ne3 Nxe3 28. Rxe3 Bg7 29. h4 h5 30. Nxh5 gxh5 31. Qxh5+ Kg8 32. Rg3 Re7 33. Bh6 Nf8 34. Re1 Ra7 35. Ree3 Qc4 36. Ref3 Qe2 37. Bd3 Qd1+ 38. Kh2 Bc4 39. Bxc4+ bxc4 40. Qf5 Ne6 41. Bxg7 Nxg7 42.h5 Qd2 43. Rg6 Kh7 44. Rh6+ Kg8 45. Qh7+ Kf7 46. Rfxf6+ Ke8 47. Qg6+ Rf7 48.
Rh8+ 1-0

IM Shivananda BS-GM Neelotpal Das 1-0
1. e4 c5 2. Na3 a6 3. c3 Nf6 4. d3 Nc6 5. f4 d6 6. Nf3 e6 7. g3 b5 8. Bg2 Bb7 9. Qe2 Be7 10. Nc2 O-O 11. O-O a5 12. Ne3 Qb6 13. Kh1 Ba6 14. e5 Nd5 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. e6 f5 17. Ng5 d4 18. Bd5 Bb7 19. Qh5 h6 20. Nf7 Ne5 21. fxe5 Bxd5+ 22.Kg1 dxe5 23. Nxh6+ gxh6 24. Qg6+ Kh8 25. Qxh6+ Kg8 26. Qg6+ Kh8 27. Bh6 Rg8 28.Qh5 Rg7 29. Bxg7+ Kxg7 30. Qf7+ Kh6 31. Rxf5 Bg5 32. h4 1-0
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/8/2020 02:05
(Continued from previous post)

IM Shivananda, BS.- GM Deepan Chakkravarthy, J
1. e4 c5 2. b4 cxb4 3. a3 e5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bc4 Be7 6. axb4 Bxb4 7. c3 Bd6 8.Qb3 Qe7 9. O-O Nf6 10. d4 O-O 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 Bc7 13. Nbd2 d6 14. Bd5 g5 15.Bg3 Na5 16. Qb4 Nxd5 17. exd5 e4 18. Rfe1 f5 19. Rxa5 Qd8 20. Nc4 Bxa5 21. Nxa5 f4 22. Rxe4 fxg3 23. hxg3 Qf6 24. Nc4 b6 25. Nxd6 a5 26. Qa3 Bd7 27. Re2 Bg428. c4 Bxf3 29. Re6 Qxd4 30. gxf3 a4 31. Ne4 Qd1+ 32. Kg2 Qb3 33. Qa1 Qxf3+ 34.Kg1 Qf5 35. Rxh6 1-0

GM Thejkumar MS- GM Shivananda BS 0-1

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bd2 Nb6 6. Bg5 Bg7 7. e3 h6 8. Bh4 O-O 9. Nf3 c5 10. dxc5 N6d7 11. Rc1 Nc6 12. Bb5 Nxc5 13. O-O g5 14. Bg3 Bf5 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16. Nd4 Bxd4 17. exd4 Nd3 18. Qf3 e6 19. Rb1 Qxd4 20. Qxc6 Rac8 21.
Qf3 Rfd8 22. a3 Bg6 23. Rbd1 e5 24. Qe3 a6 25. Rd2 f5 26. Ne2 f4 27. Bxf4 gxf428. Qh3 Nxf2 29. Qe6+ Bf7 30. Qxf7+ Kxf7 31. Nxd4 Ne4 32. Rc2 exd4 33. Rxf4+Nf6 34. Rxc8 Rxc8 35. Rxd4 Rc1+ 36. Kf2 Rc2+ 37. Kf3 Rxb2 38. Ra4 Rb6 0-1

IM Shivananda, BS -GM Baryshpolets, Andrey(Ukraine)
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. dxc5 g4 10. Nd4 Ndxe5 11. Bb5 Bd7 12. b4 Ng6 13. N2b3 e5 14. Nc2 Be6 15.Na5 Qd7 16. Ne3 O-O 17. Qa4 Rfc8 18. Rd1 a6 19. Bxc6 bxc6 20. Nec4 Qc7 21. Nb6
Rab8 22. Nxc8 Rxc8 23. Bh6 f5 24. Rac1 f4 25. c4 Nh4 26. Qxc6 Qxc6 27. Nxc6 Rxc6 28. cxd5 Bxd5 29. Rxd5 Kf7 30. Rxe5 Rxh6 31. c6 1-0

IM Shivananda, BS -GM Ni, Hua(China)

1. e4 e6 2. b3 c5 3. Bb2 b6 4. Nc3 Bb7 5. Qf3 Nc6 6. O-O-O Nd4 7. Qg3 Nf6 8. Re1 h5 9. h4 Qb8 10. Qxb8+ Rxb8 11. f3 a6 12. Nge2 Nc6 13. f4 b5 14. Ng3 Be7 15. Be2 d6 16. Nd1 Nd4 17. Nf2 g6 18. Bd1 Rc8 19. Ne2 e5 20. Nxd4 cxd4 21. Bf3 Nd7 22. Kb1 Bf6 23. c3 dxc3 24. Bxc3 O-O 25. f5 gxf5 26. Bxh5 Kh7 27. Rh3 Kh6 28. Bf3 fxe4 29. Nxe4 Bxe4+ 30. Bxe4 Nc5 31. Bf5 Ne6 32. g4 Kg7 33. g5 Bd8 34.
Bb4 Rc6 1/2-1/2
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/8/2020 01:29

Not only biased, you only have an academic knowledge of chess, no practical in-sights.

It just takes two tournaments ( 15 days) to make two Grandmaster norms if a player is capable.

Shivananda would have made the other two norms already if he had not lost to 2650 rated Belarus GM Alexandrov ( in a piece up position)in the last round of Orissa International GM tournament and to a suspected engine cheater GM in another International tournament in the penultimate round.
He had almost made 2600 rating performance and had met other criterias ( five titled players and four different country players as opponents in the same tournament) in these tournaments.

He has defeated scores of Grandmasters that too many a times playing off- beat lines . Just go through following games. You will understand.

IM Shivanandan, BS-GM Sriram, Jha 1-0

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. d4 d6 9. c3 Bg4 10. d5 Na5 11. Bc2 Qc8 12. h3 Bd7 13. Nbd2 c6 14. dxc6 Qxc6 15.Nf1 Nc4 16. Ng3 Rfe8 17. a4 h6 18. Nh4 d5 19. exd5 Qxd5 20. Nhf5 Bf8 21. Nxh6+
gxh6 22. Nh5 Qe6 23. Nxf6+ Qxf6 24. Qxd7 Bc5 25. Qf5 Qxf5 26. Bxf5 Rad8 27.axb5 axb5 28. Bxh6 Nxb2 29. Re4 Bf8 30. Rg4+ Kh8 31. Bxf8 Rxf8 32. Ra6 f6 33. Ra7 1-0

IM Shivananda, BS - GM Akshayraj, Kore 1-0

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d3 Bg7 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O c5 7. Qe1 d4 8. Na3 Nc6 9. c4 Rb8 10. Bd2 b6 11. b4 cxb4 12. Bxb4 Bb7 13. Nc2 Re8 14. Bd2 Qd7 15.Rb1 Rbd8 16. Rb5 Qc7 17. f5 e5 18. Ng5 Nb8 19. Bxb7 Qxb7 20. fxg6 hxg6 21. g4 a6 22. Qh4 Nbd7 23. Rd5 Nf8 24. Rxd8 Rxd8 25. Bb4 N8d7 26. Be7 Re8 27. Bxf6 Nxf6 28. Nb4 Re7 29. Nd5 Nxd5 30. cxd5 Qxd5 31. Qh7+ Kf8 32. Qxg6 Qxa2 33. Qd6 f6 34. Qd8+ Re8 35. Nh7+ Kf7 36. Rxf6+ Bf6 37 Qf6+ Kg8 38.Qg6 Kh8 39.Nf6 1-0

A few other games are given in next post due to space limitations .
saturn23 saturn23 6/8/2020 12:18
Indian Chess player,

This is my last reply to you. You are a very dishonest person. You twist and miss-represent what I say. You accuse me of absurd things.

This is what I said: The truth is that in his 40's and with a rating of 2250, this guy has virtually no chance of becoming a GM."

And this is what how you quoted me: "The truth is that he is now fourty years and with a current rating of 2250, this guy has virtually no chance of becoming a GM."

He is not 40! He was born in April 1976 and that makes him 44. You deliberately modified what I said to make it sound like he is younger than he actually is, presumably to strengthen your ridiculous argument that he still has changes to become a GM. Shame on you for lying!

I stand by what I said. At 44, with a rating of 2250, he has almost no chance of becoming a GM. That's unfortunate because I wish he would become a GM at this old age and bring hope to other people. It's pointless to bring Korchnoi into the discussion because he never gained 250 Elo points after the age of 44. Korchnoi was already a top player since he was very young. You are comparing apple with oranges.

Try your dishonest tactics on other people. I already showed you that you are a very dishonest person and your claims are ridiculous. I'm done with you.
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/7/2020 11:52

"The truth is that he is now fourty years and with a current rating of 2250, this guy has virtually no chance of becoming a GM." was your earlier immature comment.

1. He may be fourty years but physically very strong.Probably the reasons are he was brought up in a very healthy hilly remote village and he was also a state level high jumper before he became a chess player!He is also a vegetarian body-builder! Victor Korchnoi has proved that even at the age of 70 years one can play as strong as a Grandmaster . Age is just a number for passionate people.

2. Don't get fooled by his current rating. Rating and ranking ups and downs are normal for any sports person.One has to see potential ability and personality. In the last tournament he played ( 2017 February) he won the Gold Medal on the First board ahead of several well known Grandmasters in Indian National Team Championships representing his Karnataka state team( of which he was the captain). Afterwards he hasn't played in any tournament.May be he is preparing a lot just like he did before he high -jumped to 2467 points 15 years back!

Since you don't have habit of reading any news link we provide, a summary for you about his background.
1. Born,brought up and ( upto age 33)stays in a remote hilly village 400 kms away from Bangalore city.
2. Agriculturist family!
3. No Rated chess players there to practice , no coach , no academy( Until now he never had a coach).
4.No sponsors(He got many but he refuses sponsorships!)
5. Loses father to a sudden fourth stage cancer just after he gets initial raing of 2220( age 16 or 17)
This should be enough.
saturn23 saturn23 6/7/2020 11:27
Indian Chess player,

In order to become GM you need to complete 3 GM norms and reach 2500. Shivananda has only one GM norm and he never reached 2500. So he only completed 1 out of 4 steps required (that's 25%). Plus, he was over 2400 for about 1 year and a few months. Many players have been over 2400 for many years without achieving the GM title. One example is John Bartolomew. He has been over 2400 for about 15 years (with a peak of 2477 - and this is a proper rating, not a live rating).

You can say whatever you want but Shivananda has never been close to become a GM because he only completed 1 out of 4 required steps.

And again you are accusing me that I create different accounts to comment here. Don't you think that it is embarrassing to accuse someone of something without having any kind of evidence whatsoever?

And how are the facts I presented biased and twisted? I mostly used basic math and common sense to disprove the ridiculous claims and lies made by you, Scorpion29 and the authors of this article.
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/7/2020 10:48
Hi Saturn23,

1.First of all I am neither the author of this article nor a chessbase editor. You are imagining that every one who is responding to your (biased, fact- twisting and really immature )comments is one and the same person. Probably you are creating different accounts to comment and expecting others to do the same! We don't need to go down to your level.
2.'Shivananda is indian Fischer' this quote was by one of the most celebrated tournament organizers of India , BhauSaheb Padsalgikar who conducted Commonwealth Championship once among many other big events spanning a total of 60 years! Later this was picked by some other players. I think the author was just quoting them.
Shivanandan's domination of All india opens at that time along with attractive playing style were probably the reason behind BhauSaheb's quote.
3. When did you(and how did u) show that he was not close to GM title? In year 2005 ,rating lists were being published once in a three months. Shivananda was already having 2467 points( grandmaster level is 2500) and had gained another 19 points which would have reflected as 2486in the next list . Without a coach or any one to suggest the right tournaments to play, he unnecessarily played in some other tournaments and lost those extra points. This was told by Shivananda himself in the following interviews...

The following quote by GM Sandipan Chanda , Vishvanathan Anand's trusted second should be enough. "Perhaps in a normal time, at the age of 26-27 with a live rating of 2486, Shivananda could have reached the GM title. Losing the momentum around those times may have proved decisive for him in not making it until now.”
Sandipan was quoting about that time(2005-2006 )where some computer engine cheaters halted Shivanandan's progress.

All these things are mentioned in the above interview-articles.
saturn23 saturn23 6/7/2020 08:28
Indian Chess player, report me for what? For presenting facts? For exposing your lies, spread of misinformation, ridiculous claims and simply bad and dishonest journalism? Go ahead and report me.

You accused me of trying to degrade Indian players. I already said that Shivananda's achievements (the IM title) is pretty impressive. The truth is that you ruined his whole story with very bad and dishonest journalism, for example comparing him with Fischer or make it sound like he became a GM after he started playing chess at 16-17.

Just read the title: "Start chess in your late teens and become a grandmaster?". These are complete lies. At 16 he was already 2220. Plus, he never became a GM and as I showed earlier, he was not close to become one.
saturn23 saturn23 6/7/2020 08:11
Indian Chess player, you are making ridiculous claims. Shivananda's peak rating was 2467, according to FIDE. Even if you consider a 30 Elo point inflation, that's not enough to break the 2500 barrier. And I don't understand what's the point of talking about his possible rating today. You can't build a time machine and teleport him from 2006 to today.

I read the articles. I'm sure that with better resources and training he could have become a GM. And believe me that I wish that now, with a rating of 2250, would become GM, and show that it is possible to do that at an older age.

However, the problem is that he was not close to get the GM title. He only has one GM norm, and he was above 2400 for about a year and a few months (from Jan 2005 to April 2006).

Scorpion29 is not just "quoting a well known indian GM Sundararajan kidambi...". Scorpion29 is spreading false information and he/she deserves to be exposed and ridiculed.

Scorpion29 is a very dishonest person. He/she lied about what I said in order to make me look bad.
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/7/2020 01:34
@ Saturn 23, use proper words please. You don't read other people's comments fully and will just comment in a rash manner. This I have already noticed a few times earlier.

1.Scorpion29 is just quoting a well known indian GM Sundararajan kidambi " 2470 in 2006 is like 2570 today" from an article in Kidambi is a well respected player who works both in India and USA.
They are two different Individuals, pls remember india has a population of 135 crores! Even if the mean inflation is taken as only 27 points ,with a live rating of 2486 at that time Shivananda will be 2513 now which is a grandmaster rating.

2. Until year 1993, minimum rating slab was 2200.In 1994 it was reduced to 2005 points.In 1996 when shivananda got 2220 rating on his first rating tournament, minimum rating was 2005 points only and It was so until year 2004. Later Fide started decreasing it so that lesser strength players
can have Fide rating. Now that slab is at 1000 points. This common fact is known to people who follow chess for a long time. So I don't understand your point on this.

3. Using unnecessary slang and abusive words means we need to report you. In general it looks like u want to degrade indian players.Not a good idea.
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/7/2020 12:08
@phish master , I hope I have correctly typed your name this time! U are telling me that I have edited the article. I am neither the author nor chessbase editor . How do I edit please give me an idea, it would be very useful, hahaha.
saturn23 saturn23 6/7/2020 06:57
Scorpion29, you are a liar and you just make a fool of yourself here. To show you why, let's just analyze your claim that "2470 in 2006 is like 2570 today":

Number 50 in the world in 2006: Milov, 2657
Number 50 in the world today: Esipenko, 2682
Number 100 in the world in 2006: Khenkin, 2620
Number 100 in the world today: Swiercz, 2649

As you can see, the rating "inflation" between 2006 and 2020 is around 25-29 Elo points, not 100 as you claim. You can't even do basic research.

Another claim that you made ("Back in 2000 FIDE only gave ratings of 2200 or higher") is complete non-sense. This shows again that you have no idea what you are talking about. The rating floor of 2200 was in 1970. By 1993, the rating floor has been lowered to 2005:

At this point, it's pretty clear that you have embarrassed yourself by lying and making ridiculous claims. You keep pushing your agenda but you fail to realize how dishonest and misleading this article is. Just look at the other comments here.
chessstandards chessstandards 6/7/2020 06:11
The modern world is obsessed with success. Its markers are numbers and ratings. Chess existed and flourished before a certain Arpad Elo came into the world. Philidor needed no certification from Chessmetrics. Nor the ones like Blackburne, Richter and Nezhmetdinov. The original grandmasters were players like Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch and Marshall. Pray, how many like them are there now in 2020? Long after numbers and ratings fade away from history, great games and the legacy of masters who played them will live on. They alone have stood the test of time.
To all those quarrel here:Read chess history and be wise. Don’t be philistines.
Scorpion29 Scorpion29 6/7/2020 06:10
GM Rajaram Laxman, Blitz King of India and one of Shivananda’s close friends:

Me and Shivananda travelled a lot together to tournaments in Sangli and AP, with friends Rishi Pal Singh and Vinay Kumar Matta. We had a lot of nice conversations and are very good friends to this day. Those were really wonderful days! One thing to note here is that Shivananada’s rating at the time was easily 4 times more important – he was a sports icon!

These are from part 2 of the interview, published yesterday.

So don't go around degrading someone's achievement without understanding their background and difficulties in life.

I will request Chessbase to publish the full interview here so that people can be inspired by his story!

PhishMaster, sorry for the title and the misleading lines. Me and Chessbase will make sure such mistakes don't happen again. I ask forgiveness on their behalf here. I hope you enjoy the original interview attached here:

Part 1 - Attached above

Part 2 -

Good day.
Scorpion29 Scorpion29 6/7/2020 06:01
Ding Liren: Again a very funny claim on your end. Ding was practicing from a very young age. Had excellent coaches. Was supported by the growing chess culture in China. Lucky not to have encountered personal tragedy. Came from a city with a GM. Thus his rise was excellent but not surprising.

Unlike you, I substantiate my claims. Here are the links for these claims. Excellent profiles on chess24:

Now let's come to Vishy Anand. Yes he didn't have a coach like these 2, nor was there chess culture in India. However, Anand came from a good family background. Had support of both his parents. After he made his World Junior title he received a lot of invitations to European events. Anand is my inspiration, but compared to BS Shivananda he did receive more support. He also practiced from a very young age.

Let me bring one more fact into the picture. BS Shivananda will easily become a GM if he played or plays in Europe. The competition in Indian National Opens is incredibly hard because of a mass of underrated players. He reached a rating of 2450+ playing exclusively in India. That is astonishing today, as many of our talents go to Europe to make their norms.

GM RB Ramesh, one of India’s finest Chess Trainers and Shivananda’s Compatriot:

I know Shivananda as a player and compatriot rather than a coach. He is a nice person and a strong player. Good to know he is sharing his knowledge with other players. Back then Karnataka was not strong in terms is producing chess talents. So crossing 2450 back then was very credible. In that sense I respect him a lot for making use of whatever little opportunity to excel came his way. Good to see that this interview recognises one of the unknown talents around our country.
To be continued.
Scorpion29 Scorpion29 6/7/2020 05:45
This will be my last answer since your mind doesn't seem to comprehend what I have written. Again, it's your claims that are laughable:
1. If you have read the original interview, you will understand that Shivananda was already practising before getting his rating. Back in 2000 FIDE only gave ratings of 2200 or higher, which means he had to get a starting rating of over 2200!! He wasn't born with it - he had to work hard for it.
2. Laughable Claim? Lol, here is my extract from the original interview : Sundarajan Kidambi - Indian GM and one of Shivananda's peers: "I remember Shivananda fondly as a brilliant original player and chess thinker! He was immersed in the game of chess during analysis and even otherwise during events which shows his passion for the game. He was 2470 back in 2006 National A, a very strong and under rated (in public opinion) player in Indian circuit. I might have got the numbers wrong, but I consider him to be one of the strongest Indian players at the time. One thing we need to understand is that 2470 in 2006 is like 2570 today!"
3. To answer your question about rating gain, yes on the surface it doesn't look all that great.

But now let us understand Shivanandas background - he comes from a middle class family. He lost his father when he was 18. He had absolutely no chess background. India's chess culture was not yet so strong - back in the early 2000s we had GMs in single digits! He had and has no coach.

Now let me come to each of your dignified examples:

Levon Aronian - one of the greatest players of the modern generation. However, Aronian has been practicing chess since he was 9. He won the World U12. He was coached by GMs right from a young age. His relatives played chess. He came from a very good background. He was in Europe, which allowed him to play a lot of events. He didn't have any personal tragedy till recently (RIP Arianne). So compared to Shivananda he received a lot more support.

To be continued.
saturn23 saturn23 6/6/2020 08:59
Scorpion29, don't put words in my mouth! I never said that India did not have a player in top 10. They don't currently have one. No one is jealous of the achievements of Shivananda. Becoming an IM deserves respect.

The difference between me and you, besides the fact that you lied about what I said, is that you come up with laughable claims ("Shivananda in 2006 had a rating of 2486, which according to many Indian GMs like Kidambi, is 2586 today") while I presented facts.

The truth is that this guy gained around 250 Elo points after the age of 16. This is not that impressive, considering that most top players gain around 200 Elo points after the age of 16, at a much higher level.

Like I said earlier, Aronian improved his rating with almost 300 points, from around 2550 (at age of 19) to a peak of 2830 (in his early 30's).

Ding Liren was 2446 at 16. Now he is over 2800, so that a gain of over 350 Elo points. Anand is another example of player who gained around 300 points after the age of 16.

Rating-wise, there are many players who gained more Elo points after the age of 16, some of them at a much higher level (from 2550 to 2750-2800 and over 2800).

The problem is that this article is very misleading, dishonest and simply shows bad journalism. They try to make you thing that Shivananda was born with the rating of 2220. This is obvious non-sense.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 6/6/2020 12:21
@Indian Chess player, First, is my handle that hard for you to spell correctly?

Second, I do not care what his peak rating was, or that he has a GM norm, reading is fundamental: The title says "Start chess in your late teens and become a grandmaster?" and then you edited the article to correct that you stated he was a GM. At the time, it was just wrong, and you did what you always do, add hyperbole to inflate your cause. You have since edited the article to correct that, but the title is still misleading, and wrong.
Scorpion29 Scorpion29 6/6/2020 08:17

This attitude of yours shows your high levels of immaturity. Let me refute each of your claims one by one:
1. Who said India didn't have a player in the Top 10? Are you forgetting Anand and Hari? Yes currently Vishy is not in the top 10, but he continues to get invites to all top events, which proves rating is just a number.
2.Why do you think Chessbase is 'promoting' Indian chess? India being the origin of chess has been largely neglected by the chess community. The whole world knows India is a global chess superpower in the making, so why just cover the success and not the rise? If you think I don't have facts on my side please check Magnus Carlsen's interview with Aditya Pai
3. Your third statement about Shivananda should also strictly be considered opinion. When you don't know anything about a player be careful about making claims about his future. Shivananda in 2006 had a rating of 2486, which according to many Indian GMs like Kidambi, is 2586 today, thanks to the rating inflation.
4. You are free to publish your opinion, but berating someone shows how jealous you are about his/her achievements.
5. Indian chess can't be ridiculed as you seem to attempt. B S Shivananda is a well respected player, even among the top GMs like Adhiban and Sasikiran. I suggest you visit the link that Indian Chess Player has posted here.

Back in the 90s Chess Literature was not well spread, and to achieve a rating of almost 2500 with a LOW K Factor of 15, NOT 40, coming from a remote village with no chess background IS AN INSPIRING ACHIEVEMENT. Perhaps you don't understand the background here, and I suggest all the critics of this article take a look at the original interview on Chessbase India before berating one of India's brightest chess talents.

Good Day.
saturn23 saturn23 6/6/2020 04:57
Indian Chess player, your claims are ridiculous.

Is it the fault of Europe and US that many tournaments in India are missing from most databases? It's most likely the fault of your chess organization for not making enough efforts to publish the games. How can you complain when Indian chess is always promoted on this website? In many other countries chess is virtually non-existent. The Indian chess seems to be very well supported and yet you don't have any players in top 10.

The truth is that in his 40's and with a rating of 2250, this guy has virtually no chance of becoming a GM. And he was never close to become one. Someone is close to become a GM when he/she has two norms and a rating of over 2500 (over a "decent" period of time). You are never close to become a GM if you don't even reach 2500.

The worst part of this story is that you are basically trying to say that he was a 2200 player when he started playing chess. This is obvious non-sense. You can't just be born with a 2200 rating. He spent at least 2-3 years playing/studying chess before he reached 2200.

If you think about it, there's nothing sensational about this story. The guy managed to improve his rating from 2200 to about 2460, for a gain of about 240-250 rating points after the age of 16.

Aronian improved his rating with almost 300 points, from around 2550 (at age of 19) to a peak of 2830 (in his early 30's). Aronian's rating gain is much more impressive, achieved at a much higher level.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 6/6/2020 04:42
Hikaru says if you want to be a strong GM, you almost certainly have to start at like 5 years old, and have the right environment of coaching and a obsessive work ethic. He says it's a lot like how kids can pick up multiple languages much easier than adults, "same thing" he says.
TheBowtieClub TheBowtieClub 6/6/2020 04:11
Ridiculous clickbait article.
Shakey Shakey 6/6/2020 02:30
The title is entirely incorrect.
Integrity? Honesty?

Come on Chessbase, this is awful.
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/6/2020 01:42
Hi guys, before commenting we need to know following things about him.

( continued)

To Saturn23

4.He has already defeated scores of Grandmasters that too using total off- beat lines like wing gambit, Birds Opening etc. Many of his games are not published since they mainly happened in International tournaments in India and Indian national championships . U can even find the games of some obscure under 10 year old children's tournament in US or Europe but games of many strong tournaments in india are missing in most of the databases. This has happened with many other good indian players also. Reason may be Organizers of super strong indian tournaments aren't sending games of their tournaments to these database makers.

5. He will probably become a full GM soon if he decides to come back to tournaments. He has played very few tournaments in last 5 years. And in his last tournament( 3 years and 3 months back) , he won gold medal on the first board ahead of several known Grandmasters. It was Indian National teams Championship. Many top indian players think he is highly underrated because of less participation in tournaments. Having one GM norm already, he has missed two more easy GM norms very narrowly by losing to Alexandrov( some 2650) and Sahaj Grover( 2500) in final rounds of two different tournaments. So you cant tell he wasn't close to being a GM.

How do I know all these things? Simple. recently chessbaseindia published an article about him.very interesting read.
Indian Chess player Indian Chess player 6/6/2020 01:40
Hi guys, before commenting we need to know following things about him.

To FishMaster

1. He is an International Master with one Grand Master norm. GM norm achieved in year 2009.
2. His Highest rating was 2467 points with a highest live rating of 2486 points way back in 2005.

To MrPickl3

3. Yes he was already 2220 by 16- 17 years but that was his first rating! That was also achieved in his first Fide rating tournament! He never played in Fide rating tournaments before. Except One National juniors( under 19), he never played in any age group tournaments also.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 6/5/2020 09:50
By the way, FIDE lists him as an IM, not a GM.
MrPickl3 MrPickl3 6/5/2020 09:49
Several things wrong with this article:

1. 16 years old == mid-teens, not late-teens.
2. Dude was 2220 by 16-17.
3. Real grandmasters who actually started at 16 were: Chigorin, Pillsbury and Rubinstein.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 6/5/2020 09:47
I believe that the author is misinterpreting the quote: "Grandmaster at a young age or nothing." First, it certainly does not equate to becoming a GM, which was the point of the article, since it still references becoming a GM (at a later age). It is probably a reference to becoming an elite player, and possibly, world champion.

Frankly, I am not a fan of this writer at all.
saturn23 saturn23 6/5/2020 09:02
Very misleading title. He did not start playing at 16, as the article says. Now, in his 40's, his rating is 2250. Unfortunately for him, there's almost no chance of becoming a grandmaster. Plus, he was never really close to get it. He has been over 2400 for about two years (and briefly over 2450).

If you are 2220 at 16, it is hard, but possible to become a grandmaster. The legend is that Pillsbury "started" playing at 16 and he went to become on of the best players in the world. He was a genius, but I still doubt this is true.

I learned chess very late, a few months before I turned 17. I studied a lot on my own (pretty hard but "chaotically", without any guidance). I only had a few books so I mostly studied tactics, endgames and some openings. I never had any good books on other aspects of the game (strategy for example). I was basically isolated and I never had a chance to play against decent players. After 3 years I played my first competition where I did very well: I beat 2-3 candidate masters and I even drew a FIDE master (in the last round, when the guy actually didn't care that much about the game). My strength was maybe around 1900-2000. But later I realized that I have no chance to become professional player and I gave up. Looking back, now I know that I never had any chance of becoming a grandmaster.
Malcom Malcom 6/5/2020 07:30
STUPID, POINTLESS...misleading article! Wow, seriously, chessbase!?
mrstillwater mrstillwater 6/5/2020 07:17
What a ridiculously misleading title - he didn't start playing at 17, he was already over 2200 by that point.