FIDE Master (2011); IM (2014); GM (2014). Indian U11 Champion (2011); Indian U13 Champion (2011); Indian Junior Champion (2011); Asian U14 (Rapid) Champion (2012); Asian U14 Champion (2013); Asian U14 Blitz Champion (2013); Indian Sub-Junior Champion (2014)
Aravindh won his Grandmaster (GM) title on 20 December 2014 at the age of 15 years 1 month 11 days, 2 days at the U16 Olympiad held in 2014. He was the second person born in 1999 to gain the GM title, the first being Murali Karthikeyan whose GM title came into effect two days previously at the same event.
Aravindh was born in Madurai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He father passed away when he was three years old, after which his mother, Deivanai, supported her family by working as an insurance agent with the Life Insurance Corporation of India. His maternal grandfather introduced him to chess when he was seven years old, according to his mother because: “He would always try to find ways to get out of the house and play… cricket with other boys. So my father introduced him to chess to try and keep him still in one position.” He attended the Dolphin Public School in Madurai, which strongly encouraged its students to play chess. (2)
In 2011, GM Ramachandran Ramesh stepped in as his coach, helping Aravindh develop his talents at the Chess Gurukul Academy in Chennai. The Velammal High School which Aravindh attended in that city did not charge Aravindh tuition fees. His cause was furthered by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which extended him a scholarship.
Master norms and titles
<FIDE Master> He gained his FM title by placing equal first in the 2011 Asian U12 Open Championship. (3)
<International Master> (4) His first IM norm, a combined IM/GM norm, came from his win at the 2013 Chennai Grandmaster Open. His 2nd IM norm came from his 5.5/9 result at the Casino Open held in Graz, Austria in February 2014. His 3rd IM norm followed a couple of weeks later at the 28th International Games Festival in Cannes. For good measure, a fourth IM norm, earned at the Reykjavik Open 2014 was also submitted to FIDE in support of his claim for an IM title.
<Grandmaster> Aravindh's first GM norm was at the abovementioned 2013 Chennai Grandmaster Open which he won. His second GM norm was at the Kuala Lumpur International Open and his third GM norm came with his equal third placement at the Riga Technical University Open (2014) in August 2014. Although he came in 2nd at the World U16 championship in Durban in 2014, (5) this was insufficient to lift his rating to 2500 due to a poor performance at a local rating tournament immediately before the Durban event.
However, good results at the Qatar Masters (2014), and especially at the U16 Olympiad in December 2014-where he scored 8/9 for his team's 3rd board-pushed his rating over the 2500 mark. This enabled him to meet the final criterion for the Grandmaster title. The critical game was on 20 December 2014 in round 8 of the U16 Olympiad, when he defeated Mihnea Costachi to finally cross the 2500 live rating mark.
<Age and Junior – National> Aravindh won the national U11 Championship played in Chennai in 2010 and in the following year he won the 2011 U13 championship in New Delhi with 9/11 as well as the 2011 National Junior Boys Tournament held in Mumbai, also with 9/11. In 2014, he won the national sub-junior championship with 9.5/11 and in 2015 he won the National Junior (U19) Championship with 9.5/11, a point clear of the field.
<Age – Continental> Also in 2011, he was equal first, but second on tiebreak (7.5/9) behind Shahin Lorparizangeneh, at the Asian U12 Championship held in the Philippines. In 2013, he won the Asian U14 Championship played in Iran with 7/9. In 2014, he was runner-up on tiebreak on 7.5/9 behind Deep Sengupta at the Commonwealth Championship played in Scotland. He also won the Commonwealth U16 Championship that was staged at the same time in Scotland. In November 2014, Aravindh was equal second in the Asian U16 Championship, again behind Shahin Lorparizangeneh. In May 2016, he won the Asian Junior Open staged in Delhi.
<Age and Junior – World> Aravindh first threw his hat into the World Junior ring when he was eleven years old, competing at the 2011 World Junior Championship staged in Chennai, scoring 6.5/13 in his first outing. He repeated this result in the next World Junior Championship in Athens in 2012. Showing dramatic improvement, he achieved equal first (again second on tiebreak, this time behind Kayden W Troff) at the World U14 Championship in 2012, and 2nd at the World U16 Championship in 2014 behind the winner Alan Pichot. He scored 8.5 points after eleven rounds at the World Junior Championship (2017) but finished behind Aryan Tari (winner) and Manuel Petrosyan - both of whom scored 8.5/11 - on tiebreak.
<National> In November 2016, Aravindh placed equal first (second on tiebreak) with Karthikeyan with 8.5/12 at the National Championship staged in Lucknow. In the same event in 2017, he placed outright second behind Babu M R Lalith.
<2010-2015> He won his first significant non-championship event when he was ten years old when he placed first with 10.5/11 at first international rating tournament held in New Delhi in 2010. He was outright first, half a point ahead of runner up Sahaj Grover whom he defeated in their individual encounter. Aravindh's first major breakthrough in open tournaments was winning the Chennai November Open in 2013 with 9/11, ahead of 499 other participants, also scoring his first norm, a combined IM/GM norm - during the event he faced six GMs, scoring 4.5/6 against this opposition, and three IMs (2.5/3). In April 2014, he was equal second with 6.5/9 at the International Open staged in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, half a point behind the winner Sergei Tiviakov, to win his second GM norm and to take his place amongst the top 100 Juniors in the world. Four months later, he placed equal third with 7/9, half a point from the lead, at the Riga Technical University Open to win his third GM norm.
<2016 to the present>
In 2016, Aravindh was equal third at the Biel Master Tournament behind the winner Samuel Shankland and the runner-up Eltaj Safarli. He repeated this result in the 2017 Biel Master Tournament, placing equal third behind Mateusz Bartel and Vladimir Olegovich Baklan. He wound up 2017 with a strong outright win at the Sitges International, scoring 7.5/9.
Rapid and Blitz events
Aravindh won the Asian U14 Rapid Championship staged in Sri Lanka in June 2012 as well as the Asian U14 Blitz Championship in 2013 played in Iran. In 2014 he was runner up in the Asian U16 rapid and equal first in the Asian U16 Blitz Championship that was also staged at the time. In May 2016, he was runner-up to in the Asian Junior Open (rapid) with 7.5/9, half a point behind Masoud Mosadeghpour. In May 2017, he placed equal third at the Asian Championship (Blitz), half a point behind the co-leaders Wei Yi and Rustam Mashrukovich Kasimdzhanov.
Aravindh twice represented India at the U16 Olympiads, first in 2014 and then again in 2015. In the former event, he scored individual and team gold playing board three while in the latter he scored individual and team silver playing board one.
Aravindh entered the list of top 100 Juniors in the world in May 2014 at the age of fourteen and has remained on that list since. His highest ranking as a Junior to date (May 2018) was world #7 Junior in February 2018, coinciding with his highest rating to date, 2617.
(1) https://www.firstpost.com/blogs/mee... ; (2) http://www.thehindu.com/features/ki... ; (3) https://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml... and https://ratings.fide.com/view_sourc... ; (4) https://ratings.fide.com/title_appl... , (5) http://wyco2014.chess.hu/?lang=en; (6) https://ratings.fide.com/top_files....
References and articles
Wikipedia article: Chithambaram Aravindh