Who is chess grandmaster P Shyam Nikhil, biography, age, parents and job

Who is chess grandmaster P Shyam Nikhil, biography, age, parents and job

P Shyam Nikhil is an Indian chess player who recently achieved the Grand Master title, and became India’s 85th person to do so in the process, find out more about him below and his biography

The 31-year-old finally earned the title of becoming India’s 85th GM after a chase of 12 years.

Who is Indian chess grandmaster P Shyam Nikhil, biography, age, parents and job

Following his achievement, Shyam received congratulatory texts from many of his peers like Srinath Narayanan, Shyam Sundar, and Adhiban Baskaran.

Shyam Nikhil becomes India’s 85th GM

Shyam Nikhil recently became 85th GM after chasing the elite status for 12 years. The 31-year-old, who hails from Tamil Nadu, finally managed to earn the third norm required to become a grandmaster after years of dedication. Shyam earned his third norm to become a GM at the recently concluded Dubai Police Global Chess Challenge. Following his achievement, Shyam stated:

“It took a long time but it did finally work out. It was always there within striking distance. In these 12 years, I never felt that I wouldn’t be able to get it. Initially, I was very confident that I would get the third norm because I have the strength. But later on, because of outside pressures and so many misses, at some point I started to feel (the desperation) that I just needed to get the third norm.”


Shyam Nikhil bio and age

Shyam Nikhil is an Indian professional chess player who recently became the 85th GM of India. He was born in 1992, and he is currently 31 years old. Shyam currently competes in the Railways team at the national level. Shyam joined the Railways department on a sports quota as a junior clerk. He has since risen to the rank of office superintendent.

P Shyam Nikhil started learning chess at the age of eight years and won his first State Championship in Under-13 category, qualified to the Nationals where he finished second.  In 2017, Shyam joined the Integral Coach Factory of the Indian Railways.


Shyam Nikhil was born to his parents, K Ponnuswamy, who worked as a data entry operator in the state express transport corporation, and P Santhi, a housewife. His parents were the ones who introduced him to chess and played a very crucial and supportive role in his achievements in the sport.


Chess career and achievements

Shyam Nikhil started out playing chess at a very young age, and by the age of 18, in 2010, he had become an International Master (IM). He later went on to collect two out of the three norms required to become a GM within a year. By 2012, he managed to cross the 2500 rating points necessary to become a grandmaster and had the potential to become India’s 28th grandmaster.

Despite this early start, he faced a series of setbacks that prevented him from achieving the GM title. Shyam shared how he missed the third norm on several occasions. Even before the recent event in Dubai where he attained the GM title, he played a tournament in France where he missed the third norm by just a half point.


In fact, back in 2012, he missed the third norm by half a point before experiencing the same in 2014. More recently, in 2020, during the last round of an event, he lost out to a Russian GM, following which he lost the chance to earn the GM title. Moreover, Shyam Nikhil faced many financial constraints throughout the years. This prevented him from playing more frequently in European events, where earning norms and rating points is easier.

Shyam Nikhil shared how he got to travel abroad regularly only after 2017 when he joined the ICF, Railways. While chasing for the third norm, he also had to focus on improving his rating to make the cut for the Railways team at the Nationals. Currently, only the top 10 players get to play in the Railways team.

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