I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

    Usually I only come on chesstalk to heap praise or bitter criticism but not today! I need your help.

    I have been given this idea from a Bulgarian chess friend named 'Boris' that Mir Sultan Khan, the East Indian slave who took the chess world by storm between 1929-33, is long overdue to be awarded the GM title. Traveling with his English 'master' to London and later Europe Khan was unable to even read English notation and had grown up playing Indian chess with different rules regarding pawn promotion and stalemate.

    He was acquired and taught European chess then taken to London, England in the Spring of 1929. His 2nd tournament in London was the British Championship and he won! Over 5 years Mir Sultan Khan went on to win the British Championship 3 times in 4 tries, played 1st board for England 3 times at the Olympiad and beat many of the top players in the world at the time including Capablanca.

    In 1933 Khan went back to India with his master. He is known to have played one match in India, yielding a draw in 10 games. He was never heard from in the chess world again.

    The pressure of playing under such conditions, knowing you were purchased for this reason, must have been unbearable. He was also sick often being a slight man and from a tropical locale.

    In 1950 when FIDE began awarding GM and IM titles Khan had not played long enough to qualify and was given no title. Others who were much weaker but had strong careers years earlier were given titles.

    I promised my friend 'Boris' I would make some effort to get the idea out there. Maybe there are more important people than me who would like to see Mir Sultan Khan recognized for his contributions to chess and for the rightful title he would have earned.

    I'm nobody so no one will listen to me. I can barely get cars to stop for me at red lights! But I would like to use the timing to put a motion forward to candidates of the FIDE presidency to posthumously award Mir Sultan Khan the FIDE Grandmaster title. I will post a similar thread in other places and on my twitter and youtube channel. If I think people will respond positively I can start a facebook page or an online petition and try to get a few hundred or even thousand names on it.

    Even if you're not keen on the idea I hope you will check out the life and games of Mir Sultan Khan, one of the greatest natural players of all time!

    Probably Sultan Khan's most famous game is his win as White against Capablanca at Hastings 1930–31:
    1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 b6 3.c4 Bb7 4.Nc3 e6 5.a3 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Bg5 Be7 8.e3 0-0 9.Bd3 Ne4 10.Bf4 Nd7 11.Qc2 f5 12.Nb5 Bd6 13.Nxd6 cxd6 14.h4 Rc8 15.Qb3 Qe7 16.Nd2 Ndf6 17.Nxe4 fxe4 18.Be2 Rc6 19.g4 Rfc8 20.g5 Ne8 21.Bg4 Rc1 22.Kd2 R8c2 23.Qxc2 Rxc2 24.Kxc2 Qc7 25.Kd2 Qc4 26.Be2 Qb3 27.Rab1 Kf7 28.Rhc1 Ke7 29.Rc3 Qa4 30.b4 Qd7 31.Rbc1 a6 32.Rg1 Qa4 33.Rgc1 Qd7 34.h5 Kd8 35.R1c2 Qh3 36.Kc1 Qh4 37.Kb2 Qh3 38.Rc1 Qh4 39.R3c2 Qh3 40.a4 Qh4 41.Ka3 Qh3 42.Bg3 Qf5 43.Bh4 g6 44.h6 Qd7 45.b5 a5 46.Bg3 Qf5 47.Bf4 Qh3 48.Kb2 Qg2 49.Kb1 Qh3 50.Ka1 Qg2 51.Kb2 Qh3 52.Rg1 Bc8 53.Rc6 Qh4 54.Rgc1 Bg4 55.Bf1 Qh5 56.Re1 Qh1 57.Rec1 Qh5 58.Kc3 Qh4 59.Bg3 Qxg5 60.Kd2 Qh5 61.Rxb6 Ke7 62.Rb7 Ke6 63.b6 Nf6 64.Bb5 Qh3 65.Rb8 1–0
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

    Just to clarify: Mir Sultan Khan was a manservant, not a slave - also referred as the protégé of Sir Umar Hayat Khan - a wealthy patron of chess and later A.D.C. to His Majesty King George V.
    (from R.N.Coles - MIR SULTAN KHAN 2nd edition)
    From the same source: `When his patron died, he received a small property which he happily farmed for the rest of his life`

    The rest is fairly accurate - he was a great talent, hated the British climate (cold and dump) and raised to be a top 10 player in the world - maybe the sixth as wikipedia mentions (quoting chessmetrics). Which is so surprising as he could not read English or another Western language.
    A posthumous GM title would be totally deserved.

    Good luck with your project!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Emil

      Just to clarify: Mir Sultan Khan was a manservant, not a slave

      Thanks for the support Emil! I understood that Khan was a slave purchased for the purpose of making money for his patron. The evidence of this is the fact that his patron also brought another 'servant', a female named 'miss fatima' who won the women's British Championship!

      Also there is this story from the Edinburgh University Chess Club and Wikipedia:

      There is some dispute as to whether Sultan Khan was a slave or was merely a servant. Reuben Fine related that when he was a guest for dinner at the maharaja's home in England, Sultan Khan was a waiter who brought the dishes to the table.
      "When we were ushered in we were greeted by the maharajah with the remark, 'It is an honor for you to be here; ordinarily I converse only with my greyhounds.' Sultan Khan, our real entree to his presence, was treated as a servant and we found ourselves in the peculiar position of being waited on at table by a grandmaster."


      Thank-you for mentioning his later life, he did not die or disappear he simply returned to his humble life in India never to play again. He fathered children and refused to teach them chess allegedly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sultan Khan

        I think Emil is right about this topic. The remarks of GM Fine notwithstanding, both "Sultan" and "Khan" are names that are also titles and show, at the very least, the expectations that Sultan Khan's Muslim parents had for him. I've also been told by someone who grew up in India at the time that a manservant would have been treated with a lot more respect than a (female) maidservant.

        Good luck with your goal for getting Sultan Khan a posthumous GM title. Where does the Indian (chess) federation stand on this?
        Dogs will bark, but the caravan of chess moves on.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

          Originally posted by Emil Smilovici View Post
          The rest is fairly accurate - he was a great talent, hated the British climate (cold and damp)
          I cannot comment regarding Mr. Khan, but....

          "The classic British roadster is an Englishman's way of thumbing his nose at the weather."

          Steve

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

            Sultan Khan of course deserves the GM title. There are others deserving but sticking to the topic I would say he is foremost in being a candidate for a post humous grandmaster title. He is also desrving of being known as India's first grandmaster.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sultan Khan

              Good luck with your goal for getting Sultan Khan a posthumous GM title. Where does the Indian (chess) federation stand on this?

              That's a great question! I am in the early stages of trying to get support. I am contacting Indian GM's and even considered writing a letter to the office of Narendra Modi. I have of course written to FIDE. I wonder if someone more familiar with FIDE politics has any insight.

              If I make any progress I'll post it here. Thanks for the support, I wasn't even sure how many people knew who Mir Sultan Khan was!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Sultan Khan

                Does FIDE award posthumous titles?

                Also, is this something Sultan Khan would have wanted?
                Gary Ruben
                CC - IA and SIM

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sultan Khan

                  Does FIDE award posthumous titles?

                  Also, is this something Sultan Khan would have wanted?


                  I don't know, is not having the title something he would have wanted? I can't answer those questions but I do know my goal is to recognize and honour the accomplishments of an amazing man. A man who whether you call him a servant or a slave was not free to leave his master and played and lived in England against his will to the point of repeated illness.

                  His achievements can only be called exceptional and to let the memory of those accomplishments be forgotten is dishonourable. It is a story of hope and the capacity of the human mind and spirit. I believe it can only add to the culture and class of the chess world to posthumously award Mir Sultan Khan the GM title he deserves.

                  As to whether this is a precident I do not know. I hope someone involved in chess politics may shed some light on that. But keep in mind that modern rules governing the awarding of the GM title did not apply in those days. It was simply a quirk in time as the rules were changed thereafter and the candidates system was brought in. Having won 3 British Championships alone should account for 3 GM norms by today's standards.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

                    Perhaps you should enlist one V. Anand in your project.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

                      As always - Edward Winter is an invaluable source:

                      http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/e...ultankhan.html

                      I love the story about his opinion on the Alekhine-Bogoljubow match ( “I tink” “that they both very weak players.”) and even better, the "Kmoch incident" (next paragraph in the article)
                      The photos are great.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

                        I may have missed this thread before. I am reminded of Igor Ivanov, who immigrated to Canada decades ago, and who later made a living playing chess in the USA. Does anyone recall whether Igor (who was a strong IM for ages) was ever awarded the GM title by FIDE? If so, was it awarded posthumously?
                        Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
                        Murphy's law, by Edward A. Murphy Jr., USAF, Aerospace Engineer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

                          If I remember correctly, Ivanov got the GM title just before his passing, in 2005.

                          Sultan Khan was obviously of GM strength. One thing people could argue about is that the GM title wasn't really official before 1950.

                          But of course a posthumous GM title would be in order for a player of his caliber.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: I want to start a drive to get Mir Sultan Khan awarded the GM title posthumously

                            GM Igor V. Ivanov was awarded the title in 2005. He died Nov 17, 2005 but was alive when he got the title.

                            I was asked by Ivanov as CFC President in 2004 for help. He was not well. He wanted his GM title that he had earned years ago and to transfer back to Canada. Our FIDE rep at the time Nathan Divinsky was our man for the mission and both got done.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Sultan Khan

                              Sultan Khan

                              From The Sultan of Chess
                              Produced by Bandung Films, 1990

                              This short film tells the story of two Indian servants (to Sir Umar Tiwana), who played in the British Chess Championships and won.

                              Sultan Khan won the British Championships in 1929 (Ramsgate), 1932 (London) and 1933 (Hastings).

                              Miss Fatima won the British Women’s Chess Championship at Hastings in 1933.

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYCwOpjKab0

                              See also Note 7168 at Edward Winter’s site:

                              http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter84.html
                              Last edited by Wayne Komer; Sunday, 17th May, 2015, 05:28 PM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X