Knight of Chess


19 year-old Parimarjan Negi, who till recently was India’s youngest chess grandmaster, talks to Youth Inc about his journey, from being gifted a chessboard to winning esteemed titles

Q. What prompted you to enter the arena of chess and ‘checkmate kings’?
Chess was one of my hobbies from the very beginning. I would play board games like Chess and Ludo, but it all started when I received a gift – a magnetic chessboard. The magnetic factor made it all the more exciting. I learnt the rules and gradually it become more than only a hobby.


Q. How did you feel when you won the title ‘India’s youngest chess GM’ at an age when 13 year-olds are occupied with playtime?
I felt a huge relief. I ensured not to brag about it to my friends (many of them didn’t even know what ‘chess grandmaster’ meant then). I was very young but kept myself focused on subsequent games.

Q. What pressures and challenges have you faced since your journey in the field of sports commenced?
For me, recovering from bad tournaments – be it at any level – is definitely one challenge. Being motivated needs efforts. Keeping up my motivation level up in back-toback tournaments is quite tough.

Q. Who stands as your role model? 
Many known Indian players, but I don’t idolise any chess player. I don’t like to idolise. However, I’ve learnt a lot from Andre Agassi and his biography.

Q. What do you have to say about World chess champion Viswanathan Anand?
He is definitely the reason behind the popularity of chess in our country.
He is one of the people I have looked up to and will continue to do so. I want to compete with him in a future game.

Q. How is your day prior to a tournament? What preps do you undertake?
Tournaments last for 10 days with several rounds. I am a little tensed prior to a game, but I need to be focused. If I have an afternoon game, I need a two-hour morning prep. It’s more about controlling emotions and not getting distracted. I indulge in self-talk, motivating myself while keeping distractions away.

Q. How is the governmental finance and support for young Indian chess grandmaster aspirants?
Since I won the title ‘India’s youngest chess grandmaster’, the support provided to me was very good. The sports ministry does aid a lot and the NSDF scheme (National Skill Development Corporation) has always been a crucial support for me.

Q. How did you cope with your studies at 13 amidst all your tournaments?
It was never a problem. My work didn’t clash with my studies. I would take a month or two off from work during my exams. My school always had been very supportive. However, currently I’m entirely focusing on chess.

Q. What are your plans for the future?
I am currently a professional chess player, but I want to be the one on the top. Also, I need to imbibe a consistency in my performances.

Q. What advice would you want to give Sergey Karjakin who won the title of ‘World’s youngest chess GM’?
I don’t really have any advice for him. But I think he should be giving me some advice (laughs).

Q. Whom do you aspire to be like? 
As I told before, I don’t really idolise people. But I’m quite inspired by Andre Agassi.

Q. What is your advice for budding chessmasters?
Play chess like any other board game. Don’t take it as a tedious task, play it as if it were a hobby. It does help in aspects like concentration and focus.

Q. What are some mantras to deal with defeat?
Intially when I would face defeat, I would go crazy. But gradually I realised and learnt that no matter how bad a defeat is, it is advisable to leave it behind oneself and look forward. One should never think ‘I’m the only one who has lost’, the best players have also witnessed defeat and overcome it.

Quick Moves

Most Exciting Game
The next game after I bagged the title

Most Tedious/Nervous Game
The first time I met the first grandmaster norm
(three norms are required to be met)

Queen in Your Life
Other than chess queens, hard to say…

Recreation Tactics
Movies, TV shows, books

Aspire to be Like
Andre Agassi

Strongest Opponent
Teimour Radjabov (world no. 4)

Favourite Sport Apart From Chess

Dream Match With
Just win against whoever I play!

Associate a Name with the Following

King – Eminem
Queen – Kristen Stewart
Bishop – minister with a long name
Knight – myself


Volume 2 Issue 5



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