Indian chess Grandmaster P. Harikrishna on Sunday became the second Indian chess player to join the elite club of world's top 10, as per the rating list released by the game's global body FIDE.
As per the latest rating list of FIDE for the month of November, the 30-year-old Harikrishna was ranked 10th with 2768 points.
The former World Junior champion hails from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.
The other Indian GM, who is in the elite list, is former world champion V. Anand (2779) at the seventh place.
This is the first in the history of Indian chess that two players figure in the world's top 10 ranking list.
The world's 100th ranked player is GM K. Sasikiran, also from India.
As a country, India ranks fifth in the chess world rankings based on the average rating of its top 10 players. The top four chess countries are Russia, the United States, China and Ukraine.
However, there is no one from China in the top 10 bracket.
In the women's category too, two Indian GMs figure in the top 10 club -- No.4 Koneru Humpy (2557) and No.6 Harika Dronavalli (2543).
Expressing happiness at Harikrishna breaking into the top 10, Andhra Pradesh Chess Association Secretary D. Srihari told IANS: "The state government is interested in supporting chess and the world-class chess players from Andhra. We will also discuss the kind of assistance the state government can provide to Harikrishna, Humpy and Harika so that they can focus on getting the world title to India."
Srihari said the government is interested in promoting chess in schools.
According to him, the state chess association would deliberate and decide on celebrating Harikrishna's latest achievement.
A chess coach, preferring anonymity, told IANS: "It is the right time for the Indian chess federation, and the central and state governments to start 'Project H' -- Harikrishna, Humpy and Harika -- in terms of assisting them in getting the necessary facilities so that they can focus on their game and win the world title."
"For Harikrishna, this is an opportune time as he is 30. Hiring an expert foreign trainer is an expensive affair. All these players have come up on their own effort and it is time for the chess federation to take up the matter with the central and the state governments," the coach added.
In Hyderabad, Harikrishna's parents were elated at the news of their son's achievement.
"His first goal was to break into top 100 and the next goal was to get into the top 10 club. Now his target is to enter the top four club in the world," Harikrishna's father P. Nageswara Rao told IANS over phone from Hyderabad.
"We went to a temple on hearing the news. Harikrishna is also very happy. He is in Europe playing tournaments there," Rao added.
According to Harikrishna's mother P. Padmavathy, being a top chess player is a costly affair as one has to have a good trainer -- and good trainers cost a premium.
"We are somehow managing now. Harikrishna meets his expenses and also the trainer fees out of the prize money he wins and from his own pocket," Padmavathy said.
According to them, the government should provide some financial assistance to top chess players so that they can focus on their game.
One of the problems faced by Harikrishna is that majority of the strong chess tournaments are held in Europe and the organisers invite only one top player from each country.
Now that Harikrishna is ranked 10th, there will be more invitations coming his way from major tournament organisers.