Vishy Anand caused a huge chess boom in India after he came onto the scene, and currently the strongest Grandmaster from that huge crop of inspired players is Pentala Harikrishna. He was born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India in 1986. Harikrishna was highly successful as a junior, winning the Indian Championships in virtually every age group available. Pentala also won the World U10 Championship in 1996. He achieved the Grandmaster title at age 15, the youngest from his country to earn the title until the recent rise of GM Praggnanandhaa. He won the Commonwealth Championships in 2001, the World Junior Championships in 2004, and the Asian Individual Championships in 2011. Harikrishna’s biggest tournament victories to date were at the 2012 Tata Steel B Group and the 2013 Biel MTO. A former top 10 player, the Indian GM peaked at 2770 on the December 2016 FIDE list.
Pentala has represented his country at seven Olympiads, his first being at Istanbul in 2000 at the age of 14. He has also participated in several World Team and Asian Team Championships. Harikrishna’s strongest result was at the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar, where the team won gold and he won a silver medal on his board, scoring 6.5/9. The Indian team also won bronze at the 2010 World Team Championships. A member of the world’s elite for the past five years and known for his original style, the Indian #2 will be a great addition to the Showdown.