(previously the blog was titled “Quest to GM”)

Joe Namath, New York Jets Quarterback

If You’re Not Gonna Go All The way, Then Why Go At All.

Joe Namath, New York Jets Quarterback

Fastest Chess Rating Gain in the World
from FIDE 1548 to 2500 in 5 years & 5 months
(Jan 2010 to May 2015 - 
on traditional, lower, K-factor)

Went from 1548 to ~2490 in even shorter time of 4 yrs and 9 months
(Jan 2010 to Sep 2014)

Crossed realtime Grandmaster rating of 2500 in May 2015 at age 15

Highest Rated 17-year old US Player

 US Junior Champion 2015 (under 21-years), Age 16

#1 ranked US Junior Rapid Player (under 21-years) since Age 14

US Chess National High School Champion (K-12) for 2015

US Chess National High School Blitz Champion for 2015

US Chess Junior High School Champion (K-9) for 2013 (SuperNationals)

2013 North American Youth Champion U18 at Age 14

US Chess Federation (USCF) Life Senior Master

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

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

All Star American Chess Team - 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016



I’m Akshat Chandra and this blog has served as a log of my Journey to be a Chess Grandmaster and beyond.

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 a trip to India, I stumbled upon Chess. As things would happen, my family relocated 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 intricacies quite fascinating.

I began learning Chess in 2009, and in 2010 I received a starting FIDE rating of 1548. I started playing Chess very late compared to my peers who were already learning Chess with GMs and professionals since 4 to 6 years of age. To compete, I had to work very hard.  That part was not difficult since I had a passion for the game.

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 the US after an approximately 4-year stay in India where I picked up competitive chess. I came back just in time for my first official USCF tournament 2-weeks later - the SuperNationals V. It's like the US Chess Olympics, held every 4 years. I won the event and became the 2013 US SuperNationals K-9 Champion! Thereafter, over the years I've won the US Junior Chess Championship, the National High School Chess Championship, the National High School Blitz Championship, and the North American Youth (U18) Championship.

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 know, I get called to a book-signing ceremony. My first touch of fame!  Around age 10, a couple of years with professors of the 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.

Along the way, this blog continues to help other young chess enthusiasts who can relate to my experiences. I've made many mistakes and learned many hard lessons, 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.

I try to live by the great words of Joe Namath, about going all the way.

Thanks for reading the blog and feel free to leave comments in the blog postings.

If you wish to Sponsor, please write to me. You may contact me by using the form here.


  • Loved reading your articles man!!! They were really cool 🙂

  • nirajrm

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Good luck! Stumble here from chess plug in! Do you recommend any chess book/videos for teaching to a kid of 3 years?

    • Akshat Chandra

      Reply Reply July 17, 2013

      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!

  • nirajrm

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    or websites!

  • Ashik

    Reply Reply July 5, 2013

    I played in the same Marshalls Tournament last weekend where you played. I wish you good luck to your quest!

  • Srinath

    Reply Reply May 7, 2014

    Hugely impressive, good luck in achieving your goals asap 🙂

    • Akshat

      Reply Reply May 12, 2014

      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 !

  • Klint

    Reply Reply May 8, 2014

    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!

    • Akshat

      Reply Reply May 12, 2014

      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.

  • Denster

    Reply Reply May 8, 2014

    You are brilliant! Massive good luck to you.. You are an inspiration!

    • Akshat

      Reply Reply May 10, 2014

      Thanks for your kind words Denster, Good luck to you as well !

  • Niranjan

    Reply Reply May 12, 2014

    Hi Akshat!
    It was amazing to read your articles. Keep writing!
    May you succeed in your quest soon!
    All the best 🙂

    • Akshat

      Reply Reply May 21, 2014

      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 !

  • Davion Mars

    Reply Reply January 11, 2017

    I’m surprised there aren’t millions of comments on your blog…you are a great inspiration to myself and by extent anyone I introduce to the game. I’m 3 years older than you, and I doubt I could ever be able to emulate such an incredible feat given the political state of chess in my own country as well as my own financial constraints…but I still have the desire and the hope to rise to the top someday, if I ever have the chance I would favour a contest against you although you may hardly consider me a challenge lol. Thank you.

    Davion Andel Mars
    Guyana South America,
    Fide 1673

    • Akshat

      Reply Reply January 11, 2017

      Hey Davion,
      Hope all’s well with you.
      Thank you so much for your kind words!
      I really appreciate it.

      The fact that you have a FIDE rating, despite the difficult circumstances you are in, is also very inspiring.
      I am sure that you will become a very good player since you have a passion and a desire to excel at chess!

      Look forward to perhaps meeting and playing you one day!

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