Chess in India has always been counted as highly popular, and India enjoys an ancient chess tradition. Chess, or at least an early ancestor called Chaturanga, was arguably invented in India.
Modern Chess in India
Modern India has consistently produced exceptional chess professionals, who have achieved memorable milestones in all formats and levels of the game. The current world No.1 is an Indian (Viswanathan Anand) and the world No.2 amongst women is Humpy Koneru from Andhra Pradesh. India regularly produces remarkable chess prodigies, recent names in this roster include Parimarjan Negi, Srinath Narayanan and Sahaj Grover, all born in the early 1990s. The three The Sanskrit word 'Chaturanga' means "having four limbs or parts"; and it was also used to describe the Indian army of Vedic times, where a platoon had four divisions like elephants, chariots, cavalry, and infantry. The board of Chaturanga was called 'Ashtapada' (eight-square). Though, no specific time frame can be mentioned about the inception of Chaturanga, it was widely played in India during the Guptaperiod.
Beginning of Modern Era Chess
Chess in India gained the first dash of modernity during British rule. For the very first time, Indian chess broke the boundaries of pits, courts and palaces whilst reaching the mass; the popularity hence begun. However, that was just the beginning. Indian Chess took a further leap forward with the independence of India and indeed with the establishment of the All India Chess Federation in the year 1951.
All India Chess Federation
Since its inception, the All India Chess Federation (AICF) has been working relentlessly for the development of Indian Chess. The Indian Chess also started to be played in an organised manner, with the establishment of AICF. As the national body for Chess in India, the AICF initiated and supervised all kinds of Chess related activities in India, for the better management of Indian Chess. The AICF has also got immense help from the state Chess associations that have been performing different activities for the well being of Indian Chess and also for making India to stand apart with pride. They are also organising a number of Indian Chess tournaments on a regular basis with a view to bring up young and talented Indian Chess players from the grass route level. The Indian Chess tournaments are organised at various levels, like at the district level, state level or the national level. The tournaments are also organised in various age categories like under-7, under-9, under-11, under-15, under-19, junior, senior levels. Separate tournaments for men's and women's are organised in India, as well.
Contribution of Indian Chess Associations
The Indian Chess associations have got considerable success in bringing out talented Chess players so far, as a large number of Indian Chess players are making their marks in the international arena, now-a-days. In fact, the present World Champion in Chess is an Indian Chess legend, Vishwanathan Anand. Apart from Anand, several other players like Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Dibyendu Barua, Koneru Humpy, D Harika etc have also played extraordinarily in the international arena. They are bringing new glory and happiness for India Chess, day by day.
Chess as a Tradition
Indian Chess is just not a game but is the tale of the changing tradition of sports in India. Recognition certainly plays the pivotal role in marking this change in Indian sports. Indian Government has been honouring the eminent sportspersons with various prestigious awards like the Arjuna Awards to further popularise sports in India. There are a number of Arjuna Awardees in Chess.
Some of the most important Arjuna Awardees in Chess include Manuel Aaron, Rohini Khadilkar, Vishwanathan Anand, Dibyendu Barua, Pravin Thipsay, Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi, P Harikrishna, etc. the young and promising Chess players of this age are indicating that the number will increase in the future. As a whole, the present scenario of Indian Chess is looking quite bright and promising.