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

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  • #16
    Re: Sultan Khan

    Sultan Khan

    December 21, 2015

    There is an excellent little article about Sultan Khan at a Kazakhstani site:

    http://chess.org.kz/blog/the-tragic-...s-grandmaster/

    An excerpt:

    Khan was born in 1905 in Sargodha, Punjab which is situated in modern-day Pakistan. He learned the Indian form of chess from his father at the young age of nine, which was slightly different from the modern version played around the world. It had different rules with respect to pawn promotion and stalemates, and each pawn could only be advanced one square in its first move. Khan worked as domestic help in the house of Sir Umar Hayat Khan, where he ran daily errands for his royal master.

    His first breakthrough came when he was 21 years of age as he was adjudged the strongest player in the state, after which Sir Umar decided to take him under his patronage and teach him the European version of the game. Just two years later, Khan won the All-India Championships with a remarkable score of 8.5 points of a possible nine.

    Sir Umar then decided to take Khan to London, where he trained with some British masters and subsequently entered the British Chess Championship. Khan would go on to win the tournament three times in 1929,1932 and 1933 in a total of four attempts.
    Khan’s international career was a short-lived one and lasted just five years, with Sir Umar taking him back to India in December 1933. In 1935, Khan claimed victory against V.K. Khadilkar in a ten-game matchup, where he yielded just one draw and won all the remaining games. After this, he returned to serving his ‘master’ and never played the game again.

    Playing chess in inhospitable weather conditions had eventually made him feel like he was caged, leading him to give up the sport once and for all. He grew disillusioned with chess as Ather Sultan, his eldest son, recalled that he refused to coach his children at chess and told them to do something more useful with their lives.

    He later died of tuberculosis in 1966 in complete obscurity – a sad end to one of the game’s most brilliant minds.

    FIDE, the official governing body of chess, gave many long-retired players formal retrospective titles in 1948, but it inexplicably chose to omit Khan at the time. He was subsequently forgotten and continues to remain a relatively unknown figure in the sport’s illustrious history.

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    • #17
      Re: Sultan Khan

      It should be possible to create a computer program that would rate the playing strength of both players in a game and then arrive at an Elo rating for each player. This should now be doable as there are programs that evaluate plays up to the 3500 rating level.
      Repeating the process for a large number of games should give a very accurate rating for the player, dead or alive. There must be millions of games available in chess datebases with which to hone the accuracy of the program.
      Is it possible that such a program already exists? Then we could know the ratings of Morphy, Lasker, Capablanca, etc.
      Such a result could well be the best argument when awarding posthumous titles.
      Last edited by Vlad Dobrich; Monday, 21st December, 2015, 06:24 PM.

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      • #18
        Re: Sultan Khan

        http://en.chessbase.com/post/compute...ongest-player-

        Not exactly what you are looking for, but it's a start.
        "Knowledge illuminates visible possibilities" - http://wisdomofchopra.com/

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        • #19
          Re: Sultan Khan

          Here is Jeff Sonas's analysis of Sultan Khan's career results. Rather persuasive, I should say.

          http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/P...00000028310100

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          • #20
            Re: Sultan Khan

            Follow this link to Jeff Sonas's Chessmetrics page and click on Su to find Sultan Khan's results curve. A grandmaster for sure.

            [/URL][http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/FindPlayer.asp[/URL]

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            • #21
              Re: Sultan Khan

              Sultan Khan was likely the most qualified non-recipient of the GM title in 1950, and this was the case until his death in 1966. He had been a true world-class player during his relatively brief competitive chess career. :)

              It was probably a case of lack of action by chess federations, with perhaps some bureaucratic wrangling thrown in. He had been retired from competitive chess for many years by 1950, but so had a player such as Oldrich Duras, who was still alive in 1950 and received the GM title then. Akiba Rubinstein also got the GM title then, well deserved of course, but had been retired for many years by 1950.

              Sultan Khan played for Britain in Olympiads. He was originally from India. In 1950, the new nation of India, where he was then living, had just been created as an independent country, obtaining self-government from Britain in 1947. Perhaps the Indian Chess Federation wasn't operational to the level of taking up this problem with FIDE. Obviously, the British Chess Federation didn't make the case for Sultan Khan either.

              My solution is to have FIDE create an entirely new title for this sort of case, a Posthumous Grand Master (PGM). If they get around to that, then players such as the late IM Fedor Bohatirchuk would also be worthy, as he failed to get GM recognition due to political reasons. Then there are less known cases such as Boris Werlinsky, Lev Aronin and probably a few more Soviets. :)

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              • #22
                Re: Sultan Khan

                Sultan Khan was likely the most qualified non-recipient of the GM title in 1950, and this was the case until his death in 1966. He had been a true world-class player during his relatively brief competitive chess career. :)

                It was probably a case of lack of action by chess federations, with perhaps some bureaucratic wrangling thrown in. He had been retired from competitive chess for many years by 1950, but so had a player such as Oldrich Duras, who was still alive in 1950 and received the GM title then. Akiba Rubinstein also got the GM title then, well deserved of course, but had been retired for many years by 1950.

                Sultan Khan played for Britain in Olympiads. He was originally from India. In 1950, the new nation of India, where he was then living, had just been created as an independent country, obtaining self-government from Britain in 1947. Perhaps the Indian Chess Federation wasn't operational to the level of taking up this problem with FIDE. Obviously, the British Chess Federation didn't make the case for Sultan Khan either.

                My solution is to have FIDE create an entirely new title for this sort of case, a Posthumous Grand Master (PGM). If they get around to that, then players such as the late IM Fedor Bohatirchuk would also be worthy, as he failed to get GM recognition due to political reasons. Then there are less known cases such as Boris Werlinsky, Lev Aronin and probably a few more Soviets. :)

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Sultan Khan

                  Originally posted by Frank Dixon View Post
                  My solution is to have FIDE create an entirely new title for this sort of case, a Posthumous Grand Master (PGM). If they get around to that, then players such as the late IM Fedor Bohatirchuk would also be worthy, as he failed to get GM recognition due to political reasons. Then there are less known cases such as Boris Werlinsky, Lev Aronin and probably a few more Soviets. :)
                  Hi Frank:

                  The chessmetrics links were fairly compelling as to Khan's playing strength. Is there any reason though why a PGM title should be necessary rather than just having some sort of review committee (which you would need in any case) just awarding the GM title. The record would show his lifespan and when he was awarded the title. I'm just asking, why create a separate title?

                  Steve

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                  • #24
                    Re: Sultan Khan

                    Replying to Steve Douglas:
                    Gathering a few more interesting points for this case:

                    1) Reading the book "The World Chess Championship: A History", by IM Al Horowitz (Macmillan, 1973), the author states that when the Interzonal tournaments got started in 1948, and for a few years afterwards, the state of chess organization in Australasia was virtually non-existent.

                    2) The Wikipedia article on Sultan Khan is quite good. It states that he moved back to his ancestral region following the death of his 'owner'. That was actually in the western part of newly constituted Pakistan, which had been formed after the 1947 breakup of what was then known as 'British India' into the two new countries of India and Pakistan.

                    This colonial breakup was a very disorganized episode, where literally millions of people were moving, a lot of loss of life and property, and enormous chaos, over a period of several years. India, a mainly Hindu nation, and Pakistan, a mainly Muslim nation, have never gotten along particularly well at any time since, and have a long-standing border dispute over Kashmir.

                    My guess from the information supplied in various sources is that Sultan Khan was a Muslim.

                    All of these factors, and my conjecture that the British Chess Federation were not keen in 1950 to go to bat for an expatriate Muslim to get the GM title at a time when NONE of their own players were remotely close to that standard, contributes further to the buildup of factors against Sultan Khan then.

                    Sultan Khan fell through the cracks of the system. The same thing happened to Arthur Dake, who finally got his deserved GM title in the 1980s, 50 years after his dominant 1930s play, through the efforts of GM Arnold Denker. Dake was still alive at that time. That is NOT the case for Sultan Khan now.

                    The Sultan Khan case has been extensively debated by FIDE. He was clearly deserving of the GM title, no doubt about that. But bureaucratic mountains can be very tough to move.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Sultan Khan

                      Replying to Steve Douglas:
                      Gathering a few more interesting points for this case:

                      1) Reading the book "The World Chess Championship: A History", by IM Al Horowitz (Macmillan, 1973), the author states that when the Interzonal tournaments got started in 1948, and for a few years afterwards, the state of chess organization in Australasia was virtually non-existent.

                      2) The Wikipedia article on Sultan Khan is quite good. It states that he moved back to his ancestral region following the death of his 'owner'. That was actually in the western part of newly constituted Pakistan, which had been formed after the 1947 breakup of what was then known as 'British India' into the two new countries of India and Pakistan.

                      This colonial breakup was a very disorganized episode, where literally millions of people were moving, a lot of loss of life and property, and enormous chaos, over a period of several years. India, a mainly Hindu nation, and Pakistan, a mainly Muslim nation, have never gotten along particularly well at any time since, and have a long-standing border dispute over Kashmir.

                      My guess from the information supplied in various sources is that Sultan Khan was a Muslim.

                      All of these factors, and my conjecture that the British Chess Federation were not keen in 1950 to go to bat for an expatriate Muslim to get the GM title at a time when NONE of their own players were remotely close to that standard, contributes further to the buildup of factors against Sultan Khan then.

                      Sultan Khan fell through the cracks of the system. The same thing happened to Arthur Dake, who finally got his deserved GM title in the 1980s, 50 years after his dominant 1930s play, through the efforts of GM Arnold Denker. Dake was still alive at that time. That is NOT the case for Sultan Khan now.

                      The Sultan Khan case has been extensively debated by FIDE. He was clearly deserving of the GM title, no doubt about that. But bureaucratic mountains can be very tough to move.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Sultan Khan

                        'The Times of India' today features Mir Sultan Khan, whom they feel is not only a GM, but one of the all time greats. The Reuben Fine story also highlights Khan's "grand master" status.

                        http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...w/50701599.cms

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