His mother, Leela, is from Mayiladuthurai, a small town around 281 kilometres east of Chennai, a place made famous by another chess mom, Susheela, whose son answers to the name of Viswanathan Anand. Like Anand, the reigning world champion, B. Adhiban too learnt chess from his mother when he was six. It is no surprise that Adhiban, 17, idolises Anand.
On Sunday, he became the second youngest national champion, missing Anand’s mark of 16 years by a few months, when he won the 47th Premier National Chess Championship here with a round to spare. Though he missed Anand’s record, Adhiban is on course to becoming a Grandmaster before his idol, who got there at 18.
Adhibhan completed a 13-game GM norm on Monday with a draw against reigning World U-16 champion S.P. Sethuraman and needs two more norms to bag the title.
“This is my best performance till now. Playing so many GMs, winning the title and finishing unbeaten in a strong field is really great. Now, I feel more confident of completing the GM title,” Adhiban told HT on Monday.
Adhiban should have become a GM by now but missed making norms in at least four tournaments last year. “Somehow, things were not falling in place. Now that I have made my maiden norm, I hope to get the remaining two soon,” said the class XII commerce student of Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai.
Adhiban announced his arrival on the domestic circuit in 2006, winning the U-13 title. Next year, he won the Asian U-14 crown in Uzbekistan. He also helped India win the Youth (U-16) Olympiad twice (2007, 2008) and the World U-16 title last year in Vietnam. His biggest triumph at the domestic level hitherto was the National B title in 2008 — the youngest-ever to win the title. Adhiban retained the title a few months back — another first for him.