The next Anand? Aravindh a special Indian talent

by ChessBase
1/5/2014 – During the Chennai World Championship match there was a grandmaster open. It was sensationally won by Aravindh Chithambaram, a 14-year-old FM with a 2335 FIDE rating. Aravindh had a performance rating of 2728 and gained 80 Elo points from this one tournament. One of the brightest Indian chess talents hails from a very modest family background and urgently needs funding for his chess career.

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Aravindh Chithambaram, a special Indian talent

The 2013 Chennai Grandmaster Open was held in celebration of the Anand-Carlsen FIDE World Championship Match. It was sensationally won by 14-year-old FM Aravindh Chithambaram of Chennai. An unassuming boy, Aravindh won the tournament ahead of all the GM's and IM's and also made his maiden GM and IM norms, with a performance rating of 2728, which dwarfs his current rating of 2335. It seems we have a new prodigy to track!

Here are the top final standings of the Chennai Open:

Rk. SNo Tit. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB rtg+/-
1 53 FM Aravindh Chithambaram IND 2335 9.0 72.0 80.4
2 13 GM Neverov Valeriy UKR 2508 8.5 68.0 6.4
3 6 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2553 8.5 66.5 0.0
4 2 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2582 8.0 77.0 4.9
5 15 GM Vishnu Prasanna. V IND 2505 8.0 77.0 17.6
6 5 GM Borovikov Vladislav UKR 2558 8.0 66.5 -0.7
7 14 IM Mozharov Mikhail RUS 2508 7.5 78.0 14.0
8 10 GM Babujian Levon ARM 2510 7.5 66.5 1.9
9 3 GM Lalith Babu M.R. IND 2570 7.0 76.0 -1.5
10 11 GM Papin Vasily RUS 2510 7.0 73.0 2.4
11 9 GM Mirzoev Azer AZE 2519 7.0 73.0 -0.6
12 4 GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel ARM 2568 7.0 72.0 -5.9
13 42 IM Ravichandran Siddharth IND 2372 7.0 69.0 23.2
14 33 IM Swayams Mishra IND 2435 7.0 69.0 4.9
15 23 IM Swapnil S. Dhopade IND 2454 7.0 68.0 4.1
16 7 GM Shyam Sundar M. IND 2544 7.0 67.5 -10.2
17 57   Krishna C.R.G. IND 2304 7.0 65.5 37.8
18 22 IM Rzayev Bahruz AZE 2466 7.0 65.0 -1.3
19 19 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy IND 2471 7.0 64.0 -8.9
20 27 IM Narayanan Srinath IND 2444 7.0 62.5 -7.8

Read our report by WGM Soumya Swaminathan and Michael von Keitz

This report appeared in the Times of India in November...

... and this one on the home page of the Asian Chess Federation

Aravindh has a refreshingly relaxed attitude during the game. Many of his older opponents had a complaint: "How do we take him seriously? He practices his cricket bowling technique during the game!"

Aravindh was the winner of the U14 open group at the Asian Youth Championship 2013

Above we see Garry Kasparov with the winners of the 2012 World Youth Championship in Maribor, Slovenia. In the category U14 open FM Kayden Troff (left) won gold after staging a fantastic comeback in which he spent much of the event ranked tenth or so, until the final round, where a full point behind the sole leader FM Aravindh Chithambaram (middle), he beat him and secured gold on tiebreak. The Indian came in second and took silver. Canadian IM Richard Wang won the bronze medal.

Aravindh learnt chess from his maternal grandfather when he was seven. “He would always try to find ways to get out of the house and playing cricket with other boys,” says his mother Deivanai. “So my father introduced him to chess to try and keep him still in one position.”

Three games by Aravindh

The three games above were sent to us by Aravindh, with his brief annotations.

Aravindh lost his father when he was three years old, and his mother struggles to manage between his career and running the family. The chess prodigy comes from a very poor background and desperately in need of financial support to play in international tournaments abroad.

Aravindh does not prepare for his opponents during chess tournaments, he prefers to play on his own skills and knowledge. "He is extremely quick at calculations, and just like Carlsen he relies heavily on his endgame skills to win games,” says GM R.B. Ramesh, who coaches Aravindh. "He is excellent in calculation and good in the endgame as well. He has the capacity and his current form indicates he can become a grandmaster in three to six months, if given the opportunity to play in European tournaments."

Here your chance to contribute to Aravindh's chess career: Indiegogo, the international crowd funding site based in San Francisco, California, is raising money to fund travel and other expenses for Aravindh necessary to put him on a fast-track to world recognition in chess. The funding goal is $8,000, of which $1,890 have been achieved since December 14, 2013. The closing date is January 31 2014. Visit this Indiegogo page if you want to know more or are willing to contribute.

What is the money for? GM Ramesh has identified three potential chess tournaments which Aravindh could attend in the next six months. These are in Iceland, Germany and Thailand. Participation in these matches would involve international flights and over 30 days of stay abroad. This means we would have to buy flight tickets, make boarding and lodging arrangements, have money for local travel expenses and advanced training material. We also need to take extra care in making these arrangements given the fact Aravindh is not an adult. The airfares and other travel expenses would come to over $7,000. Campaign costs, match fees etc. would bring the total to about $8,000.

ChessBase is providing Aravindh with the basic software he needs for his chess career: ChessBase 12, Fritz 14 and Mega Database 2014. And we have a deal with the lad: the above is a reward for his first GM norm. For every further norm he can pick three titles from our ChessBase shop – anything he wants or thinks will help him in his studies.

Chess Gurukul was established in 2008 at Chennai, India, under grandmaster RB Ramesh's support and guidance, with the vision of producing quality chess champions. The organisation doesn't just produce champions, but moulds hard-working, ambitious, responsible and ultimately self-reliant human beings. It's been a short period of time since its inception, but Chess Gurukul has been able to produce a fair number of International and grandmasters.

Academy members with trainer GM R.B. Ramesh at the World Youth Championship 2013 in Al Ain

Work and study – a typical day at the chess school

A group of sucessful students of Chess Gurukul

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