About Me

“If You’re Not Gonna Go All The way, Then Why Go At All.” Joe Namath

Fastest Rating Gain Worldwide – from FIDE 1548 to 2488 (940 point gain) in 4y 9m (Jan 2010 to Sep 2014) on traditional, much lower, K-factor coefficient

Crossed realtime Grandmaster rating of 2500 in May 2015 at age 15
(6 years after starting Chess)

Highest Rated 16-year old US Player

 US Junior Champion 2015 (under 21-years, Top Juniors invitational only tournament)

#1 ranked Rapid Player in the US Junior Section (under 21-years)

US Chess National High School Champion for 2015

US Chess National High School Blitz Champion for 2015

1st Time in US Chess, Top Scholastic and Top Junior Titles held simultaneously, and that too in first appearance – 2015

US Chess National K-9 Middle School Champion for 2013 (SuperNationals)

US Chess Federation (USCF) Life Senior Master

Scholastic Writer Award – Age 9  |  Youngest Chessbase Writer at 14 years


 2009 – Started playing Chess – Age  ~9 1/2 years 

August 2009 – selected a Chess Coach – Age 10 years 3 months

January 2010 – Started with FIDE Rating of 1548

January 2010 – My 1st Game at  a GM Open tournament with a veteran Russian IM 

December 2011 – Won U2200 FIDE Tournament (Age 12) 

January 2013 – FIDE Master (FM) Title (Age 13)

April 2013 – US Chess Super National K-9 Champion (Age 13) in first appearance

April 2013 – As K-9 US Champion, won 4-year College Scholarship to Univ of Texas @Dallas

August 2013 – 2013 North American Youth Champion U18 (Age 14)

September 2013 – International Master FIDE Title (Age 14)

December 2013 – Judged #1 Player in US Chess League for Board 3 in first appearance

April 2015 – US Chess National High School Blitz Champion (Age 15)

April 2015 – US Chess National High School Champion (Age 15) in first appearance

April 2014 – 1st GM Norm in New York – The Marshall Club GM Invitational (Age 14)

April 2015 – 2nd GM Norm in Philadelphia Open (Age 15)

All Star American Chess Team – 2013, 2014, 2015

Hi!  I’m Akshat Chandra and this is the log of my Journey to be a Chess Grandmaster.  Like many of you, I love my sports – Basketball, American Football, Baseball.  Born and raised in the US, these are the sports one grows up with.  But during my trip to India, I stumbled upon Chess.  As things would happen, my family stayed there for about 4 years and I got involved deeper in Chess – perhaps the void left from the absence of my usual sports created the opportunity.  Chess has become a close friend since then. I enjoy the game’s challenges and find its infinite scope and intracicies quite fascinating.

I began learning Chess in 2009, and in 2010 I received a FIDE rating of 1548.  I started playing Chess very late compared to my peers who I met at tournaments.  Leading players in my age group from India, US and Europe were already playing and learning Chess with GMs and professionals since 5 to 6 years of age, and were ~300 to over 700 ELO points above me.  To compete, I had to work very hard.  That part was not difficult since I had a passion for the game.

In Jan 2013 I received my FM title upon reaching a FIDE rating of 2300, and an IM title in September 2013 after winning the North American Youth Championship U18.  I realize I’ve covered a long distance in a short time, and I’m thankful for my good fortune.  In March 2013, I returned to US after a 4 year stay in India.  I came back just in time for my first official USCF tournament 3-weeks later – the SuperNationals V.  It’s like the US Chess Olympics, held every 4 years.  It’s a great tournament with 3 major tournament titles for Grade sections – K-6, K-9 and K-12.  I participated in the K-9 (Grade IX) section, and  what do you know,  I became the 2013 US SuperNationals K-9 Champion!

Joe Namath, an American Football star, once said, “If you’re not gonna go all the way, then why go at all.”  I try to live by those great and true words.

I’ve also been writing since a young age.  Once, a story I sent to a Scholastic National contest ended up winning 2nd rank.  Next thing I get called to a Scholastic book-signing ceremony. My first touch of fame!  A couple of years of Advanced Writing online program of John Hopkins University further polished up the skill.  I decided to write about my Quest for I believe it’s important for me to keep a log of my journey – like Captain Kirk in Star Trek.  When I arrive, it’s the journey that’ll fondly remind me of how interesting, hard and meaningful it was to get there. Perseverance leaves a long trail to write about, and I don’t wish to forget the details.  My engagement with Chess is a period of discovery, both on-and-off the board.  One thing about Chess is that it makes one travel widely, and often to places we  may never think of going. I’ve now become a Chessbase and USCF writer as well.

Along the way, this blog may perhaps help other young chess enthusiasts who can relate to my experiences. I’ve made many mistakes and learnt many hard lesson, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying to get better.  We can’t be scared of losing, since it’s part of the game. No loss can beat us if we learn from it.

If you wish to Sponsor, please write to me.  For any donations or contribution for my quest, you can click here where I also discuss why I need Donations.

Thanks for reading the blog and feel free to leave comments in the blog postings.  You may also write to me at <Akshat (AT) QuestToGM (DOTCOM)>.  My rating progress and FIDE profile is available here.


16 thoughts on “About Me

    1. Akshat Chandra

      Thanks ! I started Chess fairly late at ~10 years. So I can’t tell you what may be helpful for a 3-year old. I’m not very familiar with coaching-oriented chess websites for that age group. However, I do know a good chess book for youngsters called “Chess for Juniors” by Robert M Snyder, which was gifted to me and became my first Chess book. I hope at some point that’ll be useful for you and your child. Good luck!

    1. Akshat Post author

      Hi Srinath, Thanks a lot !. Are you the same IM Srinath who I played once in a national tournament in India? Good luck for your upcoming tournaments !

  1. Klint

    It’s amazing how far you’ve been in chess in a short period of time. I feel shame on me of not having all the way since I’m playing chess for around 10 years but still stuck to 1600..hehe..you’re about me page motivates me to go all the way as you said. Thanks a lot!

    1. Akshat Post author

      Hi Klint, Thanks for your kind words. The game needs Time to improve, and sometimes it’s hard to find the time. If the game brings you joy, just keep playing and enjoying. I wish you luck.

    1. Akshat Post author

      Hello Niranjan, I’m glad you enjoyed my articles. I’ll definitely continue writing. I hope i’ll suceed in my quest soon as well 🙂 Wish you the best as well !


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