Akshat Chandra

International Master
Iselin, NJ

Defending U.S. Junior Closed Champion, International Master Akshat Chandra started learning chess at the age of about 9 years—a relatively late start compared to peers who started at the age of 4 and 5 years.

In January 2010, Akshat received a starting FIDE rating of 1548 and in less than 5 ½ years, crossed the Grandmaster rating level of 2500 in May 2015. His accelerated progress from such a late start is the largest and quickest rating increase in the world.

Akshat is the highest ranked junior rapid chess player in the country, and is among the leading junior blitz players in both online and on-board chess. Besides winning the 2015 US Junior Championship in his first appearance, Akshat is the 2015 US National High School Champion in both classic and blitz forms of the game. In 2013, Akshat won the K-9 Super Nationals Junior High Championship, and the Under-18 North American Youth Championship.

Away from the board, Akshat is an avid writer. Besides writing for Chess publications, he also has a comprehensive and unique chess blog (QuestToGM.com) that recounts his journey as a chess player from a beginner to a grandmaster. Academically, Akshat was a recent recipient of the 2016 U.S. Chess Trust Scholar-Chess Player award, sponsored by the U.S. Chess Trust and the National Scholastic Chess Foundation.

Akshat doesn’t believe in doing anything half-heartedly. In fact, as a fan of the New York Jets, his outlook echoes the words of former quarterback Joe Namath: “If you’re not gonna go all the way, why go at all?”