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

                                                     "If you aren't going all the way, then why go at all"

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)

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 in whatever .

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