A chess revolution has begun in India: Magnus Carlsen

06:07 PM Jun 28, 2023 | PTI |

Dubai: Five-time world champion and the number one chess player in the world, Magnus Carlsen is amazed at the ”huge interest” in the sport in India and says this is the ”beginning of a revolution”, which was started by the legendary Viswanathan Anand.


Carlsen, considered one of the strongest exponents of the game, is currently playing for SG Alpine Warriors in the Global Chess League (GCL) here, and says that India producing Grandmasters so frequently bodes well for the future of the sport.

India, of late, has produced the likes of the young R Praggnanandhaa, Arjun Erigaisi and D Gukesh, among others, who have beaten some of the biggest names in the world, including Carlsen.

”It’s awesome to see the huge interest in chess in India and there is a huge number of young players who are taking over the sport. I think we are just at the beginning of a revolution that started with Viswanathan Anand becoming a Grandmaster,” said the 32-year-old Carlsen.

”I think it will only get better from here as India’s producing Grandmasters more frequently than before. There’s a lot to look forward to,” he said in a release on Wednesday.


Anand, a former five-time world champion, is a pioneer of the sport in India, becoming the first GM from the country in 1988. While the 53-year-old still continues to play competitively, he is also inspiring youngsters in India to aim for glory.

Carlsen’s confidence in Indian players is such that he has three of them in his GCL side Alpine Warriors — Erigaisi, Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh.

Carlsen, being the leader of Alpine Warriors, says the boys are so good they don’t need much guidance from him.

”Well, they’re really good. So, I’m just trying to let them do their thing and then answer any questions they might have. They’re really, really good, so they most of the time they don’t need my input,” he said.

The GCL, a six-team tournament scheduled to run till July 2, is featuring the best players in the world, which is making the competition ”exciting”, says the Norwegian.

”The teams are overall fairly equal and every match is exciting, going back and forth. I think the format is really good. It inspires fighting chess and exciting matches. And for me, I think this is the way forward.

”What this event has shown is that most of the matches come down to the wire, and I have made draws in several games depending on other boards, and these dynamics are quite interesting because every time, it is so tough to predict as the players are fighting well,” he added.

The franchise format has made the tournament more appealing to the broader audiences and Carsen says it’s good for the growth of the sport.

”The Global Chess League is awesome and we have a lot of very good young players who are going to be the faces of chess in the years to come. ”And I think what’s happening here in Dubai is excellent and it brings a wider audience and professionalises the game more, so I definitely think we are seeing the future out here,” said Carlsen, who became world champion in 2013 after defeating Anand.


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