SP Sethuraman, a grandmaster since 2010, representing PSB, hails from Tamil Nadu. He qualified for the National Premier Chess Championship 2015 by the virtue of winning the 2014 edition of the championship at Kottayam. The former world Under 16 champion has a current rating of 2651 and is the highest rated player in the tournament, along with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi who has the same rating. Sethuraman played a key role in India carving out a historic bronze medal win in the 2014 Olympiad in Tromso, Norway. He has won Voivodo Cup, an international tournament in Poland in 2010 and international GM tournament at Hyderabad in 2013. He had a superlative performance in the recent World Cup, wherein he defeated higher rated Sanan Sjugirov of Russia in the first round, scalped P. Harikrishna, India’s current best player after Vishy Anand in the second round and lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the third round. Earlier, he was trained by his father SP Panaiappan, who is running a chess academy in Chennai.
Shyam Sundar M achieved two GM norms by winning the Asian Junior title in 2010 and 2011 and became a GM in 2012, 12th Tamil Nadu player to receive the title. Though friends and classmates Adhiban and Sethuraman have cornered more glories, Shyam is yet to reveal his true potential and his current rating is 2481.
Karthikeyan Murali, the 1999 born Tamil Nadu GM is the youngest participant among the elite 14 of the National Premier. A grandmaster at the age of fifteen, Karthikeyan has two world titles under his belt – Under 12 in 2011 and Under 16 in 2014, besides being instrumental in India winning the World Youth Olympiad twice. He plays the Premier championship with a rating of 2498. After grooming under the talented coach Velayutham of Bloom Chess Academy, Chennai, Karthikeyan is being taught the higher echleons of the game of chess by K Visweshwaran.
Venkatesh MR won the Under 10 bronze medal in World Youth Chess Championships way back in 1995 in Brazil. After becoming a grandmaster in 2012, Venkatesh narrowly missed the title in 2013 Premier. The national blitz champion in 2014 is a genuine fighter on the board. According to November FIDE list, the Tamil Nadu and PSPB player’s rating is 2464.
Abhijit Kunte, the Pune based grandmaster since 2000, working for PSPB, is the oldest and most experienced player in the pack. A former British champion (2003), twice national champion (1997 and 2000) and thrice national junior champion, Kunte is also a silver medalist in Commonwealth Chess Championship. He has represented India in four chess Olympiads. With innovative ideas, Kunte is keen in developing chess in and around Pune. He belongs to the 2500 club, with a rating of 2515.
Deep Sengupta of PSPB is a potential threat to the higher rated players in the National Premier. Rated 2589, the third best rating in the field, Deep is a former Under 12 world champion from West Bengal. He has won Doeberi Cup in Australia in 2009 and Hastings tournament in England in 2011. He had to be content with the runner up spot in the previous Premier.
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi’s record in the World Youth championships is quite impressive. He won the Under 14 title of the World Youth Championship in 2008, finished runner up in the Under 16 category next year and claimed the bronze medal in the World Junior Championship (under 20) in 2013. He plays in the National Premier as one of the four top rated players of India, based on Elo rating list of July 2015 and represents PSPB. The Maharashtra player was coached by IM Anup Deshmukh, IM Roktim Bandopadhyaya Gm Abhijit Kunte and GM Alon Greenfield of Israel. He achieved the GM title in 2012.
Neelotpal Das recruited by PSPB is a former national rapid champion. He is one among the earliest trio of grandmasters from West Bengal. He secured fourth place in the National Challengers and his rating now is 2475.
Swapnil Dhopade performed well in National Challengers Championship to win the title and qualified to play in the Premier. After winning the title, Dhopade added another feather to his cap by completing his requirements for the GM title recently, set to become the first GM from the Vidarbha region and fifth from Maharashtra, ending a long three year waiting. The hard working Railway player deserves more than his achievements. His current rating is 2497.
Karthikeyan P, another international master from Railways is a former Asian Junior champion. The Tamil Nadu player belongs to a chess family and his recent performances are impressive. His latest rating is 2441.
Shyaamnikhil P, a former Under 17 national champion is another player from Tamil Nadu waiting on the wings to become a GM. He has two GM norms and also has crossed the required mark of 2500 rating long back. Hope he will achieve his final GM norm in the championship. He will play here with a rating of 2436.
Rathnakaran K, an international master and a Railway employee from Kerala is a former bronze medalist in Asian Junior Championship. The never say die fighter to the core, Rathnakaran is a regular participant in the Premier championship for the past several years. He has 2447 rating points to his credit.
Arghyadip Das playing for Railways, had his best performance in chess, when he won the Leiden Trophy in Holland in 2014. The day is not far off for the former Commonwealth silver medalist from West Bengal to become a grandmaster. As on date, his rating is 2456.
Praneeth Surya K The 1997 born youngster from Telangana had a splendid performance in the National Challengers to secure the second position. Though he is only a fide master, his 2413 rating is sufficient to fill up the major requirement for IM title. One has to wait and watch the performance of this upcoming youngster.