"It was a spectacular feeling to win the Gold medal on Board 1 while representing our country," says Adhiban Bhaskaran
Known as "the Beast" in the world of chess, Adhiban Bhaskaran is India's latest entry into the elite 2700 GM Club.
With his individual gold medal on his board at the World Team Championships, 2019, he secured this phenomenal entry.
With a number of accomplishments that makes his title apt, Adhiban is surely one of India's greatest ever chess talents. So, without wasting a single thought, we caught up with him in an exclusive interview. Let's go!
Firstly, congrats on entering the 2700 club from India. You're only the fifth Indian in history to cross this rating benchmark, the others being Vishy Anand, Pentala Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, and Sasikiran. How do you feel?
Thanks for the wishes! It is a nice feeling to cross 2700, but I hope that this the just the beginning!
Can you share your experience of training and accomplishing this feat? You gained the GM title in 2009 and in ten years managed to enter the super GM club. How has your journey been so far?
It was a cool journey. There were some years where I got stuck, but luckily I always remained positive and believed in myself that it will change. Eventually, the iron resolve was awarded. There is no secret to my training methods. I just continued to work hard and at some point reached a phase where my relaxation time would also be related to Chess!
You're known for your never say die attitude and is called "The Beast". How did you develop this attitude? How do you continue to follow it during the most strenuous games?
I can say that it wasn't created in a single day, but it took years of practice! There were times in my career when I would get upset after a loss, conceding even the next games.
This pattern continued for a while, but one day I somehow managed to break away. My life has never been the same ever since. One of the secrets is to have a positive outlook for the future.
This past year you competed alongside the strongest Indian team at the Olympiad. How was this tournament different for you and what did you learn from it? You had previously won a bronze medal in 2014. Can you talk about that as well?
One of the major differences compared to 2014 Olympiad was the addition of our National hero Vishy Anand.
Although we couldn't win a medal, it was a great honour playing in the same team as him, and I was very motivated to give it my best.
Until 2014, India was never considered a threat, and I can proudly say that on winning the bronze medal, we managed to showcase the country on the international circuit and started its journey as a future superpower, as everyone considers our country now!
Can you please take us through your daily schedule, both during and off tournament days?
I work on chess and also spend time on my physical fitness. During my off days I like to watch movies, listen to music, read books, and hang out with my friends and family.
Now, let's come to some of the most important moments in your career. Can you share some of these with our readers? Which one out of them do you think is the most special for you?
The National U-14 title in Kolkata, 2006. Until that moment, I wasn't entirely sure about my potential. Then, the World U-16 title in 2008 which gave me the honour of being a World champion.
The Tata Steel Masters, 2017 ,where I could show that I could fight on equal terms with the best of the field, and finally the World Teams in 2019, where I got the gold medal on board 1 and also crossed 2700 ELO Rating points in the process.
Let's move back in time. How did chess begin for you? Who do you credit in this remarkable journey of yours?
I learned chess at the age of 7 from my mother and started participating in events at 8.
First, I would like to give credit to my parents as without their support and sacrifices, it wouldn't have been possible for me to reach this level. Next, I would like to thank my coaches, who helped me become the "Beast", and my employer- the Indian Oil Corporation- whose support helped me play in international events and my sponsor, Microsense. Finally, our All India Chess Federation (AICF), whose continuous efforts helped my career a lot.
Recently, you captured the gold medal based on your on-board performance in the World Team Championship. How was the feeling to win a gold, but still miss out on the overall team medal? What do you think made the team miss out in the end?
It was a spectacular feeling to win the Gold medal on Board 1 while representing our country! I think we always played well until the last two rounds, which are very crucial for winning the medals. We need to be able to perform well in the most heated situations where the stakes are high! Once we master this, we will be a force to be reckoned with!
Many players are aspiring to become GMs. India is gaining a GM almost every month these days. What are your thoughts on this new emerging talent field? What do you think is still lacking for the country to get more super GMs like yourself?
Yes, it is true that we have an abundance of talent in India. However, to reach the next level, they will need to become mentally tough and be very serious in their approach to chess when it comes to preparation and working hard. Also, getting funds at the right time is necessary. However, I, ultimately, fully believe that they have got what it takes and will soon become Super GMs!
Finally, what advice would you give to upcoming players? Also, any final thoughts that you would like to share with us?
Work Hard! Don't get distracted by anything other than Chess! Play to become stronger and not for the results or the appreciation from the world! Enjoy playing the game!