Krishnan Sasikiran

The second super GM of India


Krishnan Sasikiran

Krishnan Sasikiran was the second Indian player to break the magical 2700 ELO mark and enter the super GM club. He did that on the January 2007 FIDE rating list. After years of playing lower rated and open tournaments, Mtel Masters organizers have finally awarded him with an invitation to face the elite.

Sasikiran was born on January 7th 1981 in Chennai, in the state of Tamil-Nadu. Don’t be confused with Indian naming, Sasikiran is his first name and Krishnan is actually the first name of his father. Sasikiran started playing chess at the age of 9 and earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 19. His coach is his father Krishnan, himself strong player, who was also the first coach of IM Sundararajan Kidambi.

In the years before he became a Grandmaster, Sasikiran was Indian and Commonwealth U18 champion and twice British U21 champion. He also participated in the Indian National team at the Elista 1998 Olympiad where he scored 8.5/11 on the 4th board almost earning medal for the individual result.

Krishnan Sasikiran – Mihail Kobalija

Elista Olympiad, 1998

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.e4 b4 10.Na4 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.dxc5 Bxc5 13.Nxc5 Nxc5 14.Bb5+ Kf8 15.0-0 h6 16.Qd4 Qb6 17.Bc4 Ne7 18.Be3 Rc8 19.Qg4 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Nf5 21.Rac1 Kg8 22.Bd3 Nxe3 23.fxe3 Rf8 24.Bg6 Qc7 25.Rc4 Qxe5 26.Bxf7+ Rxf7 27.Qxf7+ Kh7 28.Qf4 Qd5 29.Rxb4 Rc8 30.Qd4 Qg5 31.h4 Qh5 32.Rc4 1-0

His first GM norm came at the 1998 British Open in Torquay where he finished 6th. Wins at Andorra Open and Balaguer Open (Spain) and a third place in Benasque Open 1998 were to follow. The next year he won his first Indian National “A” Championship and the Asian Junior Championship.

The year 2000 was simply fantastic for Sasikiran. He earned his 2nd GM norm at the Asian Championship in Udaipur and 3rd GM norm at the Goodricke International Open in Calcutta. He wasn’t able to retain the Indian National title as he finished 2nd, but he took the Commonwealth Championship few months earlier. Finally, he won the 11th category Pentamedia tournament in his birth-town Chennai.

Krishnan Sasikiran – Ildar Ibragimov

11th Goodricke Calcutta, 2000

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 f5 8.Nh3 d6 9.e3 e5 10.f3 Nf6 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Nf2 a5 13.Bd2 Nc6 14.Rd1 Qe7 15.Be2 Be6 16.0-0 Nd7 17.Rfe1 a4 18.Nd3 Nb6 19.Nb4 Nxb4 20.axb4 c5 21.Qc3 Rfc8 22.Qxe5 Qf7 23.bxc5 Nd7 24.Qg3 Rxc5 25.Bc3 Nf8 26.Rd4 Rac8 27.Ra1 Bxc4 28.Bxc4 Rxc4 29.Rxa4 R4c6 30.Ra5 Ng6 31.Qg5 Rf8 32.Rd8 f4 33.exf4 h6 34.Rxf8+ Qxf8 35.Qd5+ Kh7 36.g3 Rd6 37.Qxb7 Rd1+ 38.Kg2 1-0

Sasikiran often participates in practice games with experienced players. Here is how he explains the benefits: “It’s one thing that I love to do, and have been doing it regularly. It was basically the idea of my father and trainer, Mr Krishnan, which caught upon me. I used to train with Chennai players A L Kasi, A Sankar, S Kidambi and M J Ismail. Quite recently I’ve been doing it with GM Dibyendu Barua and I found it extremely useful. My vision for tactics improved after training with Barua.”

Next year started with Sasikiran taking the trophy at the 76th Hastings International Chess Congress, the oldest annual chess tournament. Soon afterwards came a 1st place at the Asian Zonal Championship in Colombo and again a 2nd place at the Indian Championship. Before starting to receive invitations for the European closed tournaments, he had to win the AICF Golden Jubilee, the 77th Hastings International Chess Congress, the Asian International Open and two consecutive Indian Championships in 2002 and 2003. A successful excursion to Denmark meant winning the 15th category Nord Sea Cup and Politiken Cup in 2003. Later he also took the 13th category Sigeman tournament.

Krishnan Sasikiran – Konstantin Sakaev

25th Politiken Cup, 2003

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.Be2 e6 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Bd6 10.h3 Bh5 11.Ne5 Bxe2 12.Nxe2 Qc7 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Rc1 Qb8 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.e4 dxe4 17.d5 0-0 18.dxe6 Nc5 19.Nf4 fxe6 20.Qg4 e5 21.Ne6 Nxe6 22.Qxe6+ Kh8 23.Rc6 Bc7 24.Rfc1 Qa7 25.R1c2 Ba5 26.Qxe5 Rae8 27.Rxa6 1-0

Sasikiran has attended several training camps organized for Indian Grandmasters by Vishy Anand. He was delighted with the experience: “The last time when Anand was here, I had an opportunity to work with him on a one-to-one basis. We worked on some specific positions for a few days, and analysed them. That was when I really saw him calculate positions.”

In 2006 he won La Roche sur Yon and then lead India to the team gold in the first ever chess competition at the Asian Games, held in Doha. He scored a fantastic 8.0/9 on the first board and reached the heights of 2700 ELO points: “This is a dream come true, really. Something I have been dreaming about for the last four years. And I was expecting to make it in this list.” he said, and added “Doha was an unforgettable experience in many ways”.

Krishnan Sasikiran – Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Spanish Team Championship, 2006

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e6 4.e3 d5 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 Bb4 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Qc7 9.Qe2 0-0 10.0-0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Nbd7 12.Bd2 b6 13.Bd3 Bb7 14.Rac1 Rfe8 15.Rfe1 Qd6 16.Bg5 Rac8 17.Bh4 Nh5 18.Qe3 Qf4 19.Bb5 Bc6 20.a4 Qxe3 21.fxe3 f5 22.c4 Nhf6 23.Bxf6 gxf6 24.Nh4 Nf8 25.d5 Bxb5 26.cxb5 Ng6 27.Nxg6 hxg6 28.dxe6 Kf8 29.Red1 Rxc1 30.Rxc1 Rxe6 31.Kf2 Re4 32.Rc8+ Kf7 33.Rc7+ Re7 34.Rxe7+ Kxe7 35.Kf3 Kd6 36.Kf4 Kd5 37.h4 Ke6 38.g3 Ke7 39.e4 fxe4 40.Kxe4 Kd6 41.g4 Ke6 42.h5 Kf7 43.Kd5 Kg7 44.Ke6 1-0

The Mtel Masters will be Sasikiran’s first 20th category tournament and a chance to shine. So far he drew Topalov once, lost one game to Michael Adams and scored +1 =2 -2 against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. He has never played Kamsky or Mamedyarov before.