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Mir Sultan Khan
Number of games in database: 152
Years covered: 1929 to 1935

Overall record: +77 -42 =30 (61.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 3 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (24) 
    D05 D02 D04 A46 E10
 Queen's Indian (7) 
    E16 E18 E15 E12 E17
 French Defense (5) 
    C01 C11 C13 C00
 Nimzo Indian (4) 
    E30 E47 E33 E24
With the Black pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (10) 
    E38 E23 E24 E43 E56
 Queen's Pawn Game (9) 
    A46 D02 A40
 Orthodox Defense (8) 
    D50 D55 D51
 Ruy Lopez (7) 
    C88 C84 C73 C78 C74
 Caro-Kann (6) 
    B15 B13 B12 B10
 Sicilian (5) 
    B32 B46 B30 B33
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Sultan Khan vs Capablanca, 1930 1-0
   Sultan Khan vs H K Mattison, 1931 1-0
   Sultan Khan vs Flohr, 1932 1-0
   Tylor vs Sultan Khan, 1933 0-1
   Sultan Khan vs Marshall, 1930 1-0
   Ahues vs Sultan Khan, 1930 0-1
   Sultan Khan vs Rubinstein, 1931 1-0
   Euwe vs Sultan Khan, 1932 1/2-1/2
   Rubinstein vs Sultan Khan, 1930 1/2-1/2
   V Soultanbeieff vs Sultan Khan, 1930 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Sultan Khan - Tartakower (1931)
   Liege (1930)
   Hastings 1930/31 (1930)
   London (1932)
   Scarborough (1930)
   Berne (1932)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Mir Sultan Khan by samsloan
   Sultan Khan: Chess Biography by jessicafischerqueen
   Berne 1932 by Tabanus
   Sultan Khan - Tartakower by Chessical
   Mir Sultan Khan - the unsung Grandmaster by MTuraga
   London International Chess Congress, 1932 by Resignation Trap
   Liege 1930 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1932/33 by Phony Benoni
   When Sultans played Chess by Open Defence
   Hastings 1930/31 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Mir Sultan Khan
Search Google for Mir Sultan Khan

(born 1905, died Apr-25-1966, 60 years old) India

[what is this?]

Mir Sultan Khan was born in 1905 in Mittha in the Punjab, British India. His prowess at the Indian variety of chess brought him to the notice of Colonel Nawab Sir Umar Hayat Khan who taught him the European game.

After winning the All-India Championship in 1928 (+8, =1, -0) he went to England and quickly came to the notice of English masters William Winter and Fred Dewhurst Yates who helped him overcome his lack of theoretical knowledge. He was British Champion in 1929, 1932 and 1933.

He played on three British Empire Olympiad teams in 1930, 1931 and 1933 and participated in some international events. He was 2nd at Liege 1930, 3rd at Hastings 1930-31 and 3rd= at London 1932. In matches he beat Savielly Tartakower (+4, =5, -3) in 1931 and lost to Salomon Flohr (+1, =3, -2) in 1932. Chessmetrics ranked him sixth in the world in May 1933, behind only Alekhine, Kashdan, Flohr, Capablanca, and Euwe.

He returned to India with Sir Umar in December 1933 and played very little serious chess again. He passed away in Sargodha, Pakistan in 1966.

Wikipedia article: Mir Sultan Khan

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 152  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Capablanca vs Sultan Khan 0-1241929Simul, 35bD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Yates vs Sultan Khan 1-0461929Quadrangular tC17 French, Winawer, Advance
3. Sultan Khan vs Yates  0-1681929Quadrangular tE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
4. Sultan Khan vs C W Brown  0-1291929Simul, 33bA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
5. Sultan Khan vs E G Sergeant  1-0351930ScarboroughB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
6. Sultan Khan vs Rubinstein 0-1821930ScarboroughC77 Ruy Lopez
7. Yates vs Sultan Khan 0-1421930ScarboroughB33 Sicilian
8. Sultan Khan vs Ahues 1-0541930ScarboroughC28 Vienna Game
9. Maroczy vs Sultan Khan 1-0411930ScarboroughC01 French, Exchange
10. Sultan Khan vs Menchik 1-0251930ScarboroughB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
11. W Winter vs Sultan Khan 1-0331930ScarboroughD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Sultan Khan vs G A Thomas  1-0411930ScarboroughC22 Center Game
13. Gruenfeld vs Sultan Khan  ½-½671930ScarboroughD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
14. Sultan Khan vs Colle  0-1471930ScarboroughB03 Alekhine's Defense
15. R P Michell vs Sultan Khan 0-1961930ScarboroughD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Ahues vs Sultan Khan  1-0301930Hamburg OlympiadB30 Sicilian
17. Sultan Khan vs O Barda 1-0271930Hamburg OlympiadC01 French, Exchange
18. K Ruben vs Sultan Khan 1-0741930Hamburg OlympiadE15 Queen's Indian
19. S Takacs vs Sultan Khan  ½-½341930Hamburg OlympiadA30 English, Symmetrical
20. Sultan Khan vs A Pokorny 1-0431930Hamburg OlympiadB02 Alekhine's Defense
21. E Gilfer vs Sultan Khan 1-0161930Hamburg OlympiadA46 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Rubinstein vs Sultan Khan 1-0421930Hamburg OlympiadA46 Queen's Pawn Game
23. F Apsenieks vs Sultan Khan  0-1101930Hamburg OlympiadB32 Sicilian
24. H Taubmann vs Sultan Khan  0-1341930Hamburg OlympiadE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
25. V Soultanbeieff vs Sultan Khan 0-1281930LiegeE16 Queen's Indian
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 152  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Sultan Khan wins | Sultan Khan loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <Sultan Khan had become champion of India at Indian chess and he learned the rules of our form of chess at a later date. The fact that even under such conditions he succeeded in becoming champion reveals a genius for chess which is nothing short of extraordinary> - Capablanca.
May-07-15  zanzibar: <In the BCM a letter to the editor which was published in 1966, Mohammed Yusuf from Lahore, West Pakistan, wrote:

<I have known Sultan Khan since 1918. He lives as a small landowner in Sargodha District in the old Punjab. The reason for his disappearance from the chess world is that his patron, Sir Umar Hayat Malik is Khan Tiwana died in 1944. Since then he has had no opportunity to to meet any of the players scattered all over the country. It well known that the English language skills of Sultan Khan hardly surpassed his writing skills. The secretary of the late Sir Umar usually helped him to read game records. Today, he has no one who could help him with chess. But yet, he is surely still the best player in Pakistan, and probably India.

He's a genius.

In 1966 Sultan Khan died in the same district in which he had once been born. Sultan Junior, his eldest son, remembered that his father did not want to teach chess to his grandchildren; for he said, they should discuss with their life something more sensible right from the start.>>

I translated this back from <Fateful Moments in Chess History> by Ehn and Kastner.

Perhaps somebody could supply the original material from teh 1966 BCM article?

May-08-15  zanzibar: Found this on Spraggett's site on Tartakower (= "he" in the following):

<From his match with Sultan Khan’s slave (he lost narrowly) He blamed ”excessive optimism”>


Two questions-

1) Does anybody know Spraggett well enough to shoot him a note that Sultan Khan != Sultan Khan's slave?

2) What is the source for Tartakower's statement about "excessive optimism"?

May-08-15  zanzibar: Sultan Khan's amazing, but all too brief, meteoric rise to the upper reaches of the chess world is nicely demonstrated in his chessmetrics rating graph:

It shows the progress he made during his first two years of exposure to the opening play of the Europeans etc.

And, after reading through the previous comments - it should be said that Sultan Khan should be considered one of the top-10 players in the world before his return to Punjab.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan !
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: What was his name?
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <He passed away in Sargodha, Pakistan in 1966.>

SK passed away in '66, according to the bio, but FSR puts the year at 1965.

Can someone please confirm the correct year?

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <thegoodanarchist> The Wikipedia article on him, which was largely written by me, lists three sources and says April 25, 1966. When I wrote that comment saying that he died in 1965, I was probably just going off my memory.
Aug-11-17  KnightVBishop: Would he of been champion of his time if not for European racism at the time?
Aug-12-17  Boomie: According to Chessmetrics, Khan and Flohr were at about the same strength from about 1930-1935. Then Khan plateaued at around 2700 and Flohr leveled off at 2750. 2700 is an awfully nice place to plateau. Clearly Khan would have become a respected professional. He was about 150 rating points behind Alekhine, so he had a bit of a chore ahead of him to go all the way.

As to the question of racism, we can only guess what it meant to them. On the surface it appears that England oppressed India. But the cultures benefitted each other in many ways. By the time of the 1930's the relationship between the English and the Indian cultures was quite close and extremely complex.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Great, great talent; it is pointless to speculate as to what might have been, while remembering such beautiful games as this formidable player's win over Capablanca.
Aug-12-17  Howard: The Oxford Companion to Chess (1992) states that he may have been the greatest natural player in the history of chess....

...though the late Larry Evans said the same about Capablanca in a mid-70's column.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jith1207: From his perception of Chess in his later years, it looks like Sultan Khan did not live with any regret of not having chance to get back to British soil to play the game. It is probable that he was starving for family, food and companionship when we was away from home. Here is to hoping that he lived his life to the fullest, having given a glimpse of that natural talent to all of us.
Jan-06-18  WilhelmThe2nd:

From London’s 'Daily Mail' newspaper, Tuesday, April 30th, 1929, page 14 (with descriptive notation changed to algebraic notation):


Señor J. R. Capablanca, the former world chess champion, played 35 games simultaneously with members (and their friends) of the Maccabeans' Club—a club composed of Jewish professional men—at the Montefiore Hall, St. John's Wood, N.W., on Sunday. He won 29 of these, drew three, and lost the other three.

The winner of one of these games was M. Sultan Khan, one of the best chess players in India and a member of the staff of Col. the Hon. Nawab Sir Umar Hayat Khan (Councillor of State). The moves in this game were: —

White. Sr. Capablanca. Black. M. Sultan Khan.

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 d5
4. Bg5 Be7
5. e3 a6
6. cxd5 exd5
7. Bd3 Be6
8. Nge2 h6
9. Bh4 c5
10. dxc5 Bxc5
11. O-O Nc6
12. Nf4 g5
13. Nxe6 fxe6
14. Bg3 Ke7
15. Rc1 Bd6
16. f4 Qc7
17. Ne2 Ng4
18. Nd4 Nxe3
19. Qe2 gxf4
20. Bh4+ Kd7
21. Qh5 Raf8
22. Qg6 Qb6
23. Qxe6+ Kc7
24. *Qxd5 Nxd5
25. Resigns.

*Queen takes Queen's pawn was an obvious oversight on the part of the ex-world champion—a blunder always possible when so many players are being opposed simultaneously. Without the mistake the game might have been drawn, as Black does not appear to be at any disadvantage.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Remarkable did this game not turn up before? Submitted?
Jan-06-18  zanzibar: <WilhelmThe2nd> - your profile mentions your work can be found at this link:


Unfortunately, the link is stale. Do you have an updated site?

Jan-06-18  WilhelmThe2nd:

<Miss S> I had no luck submitting games in the (distant) past. So I have not attempted to submit this one.

<Z> Regrettably, no. The old site can still be viewed on the Internet Archive, minus the images that appeared in it.

Jan-07-18  todicav23: <Howard: The Oxford Companion to Chess (1992) states that he may have been the greatest natural player in the history of chess....

...though the late Larry Evans said the same about Capablanca in a mid-70's column.>

Based on what? He was a top 10 player in the world at his best and nothing more.

He learned to play indian chess (very similar with chess) at 9. By contrast, Pillsbury learned to play chess at 16 and he was far more successful. Morphy, Pillsbury, Capablanca (just to name a few) were more talented than Sultan Khan.

Sultan Khan is just like Ramanujan in mathematics. Ramanujan is extremely popular and considered somehow the ultimate genius despite the fact that other mathematicians had much greater impact.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <I had no luck submitting games in the (distant) past. So I have not attempted to submit this one.>

Patience, my little man. Things have notably improved. But, in this case, allow me.

Jan-07-18  zanzibar: Thanks <WilhelmThe2nd> for the reply. Unfortunate how often the net devolves.

* * * * *

<MissS> such a true little woman, always ready to come to the aid, and with a kindly word or two.

Apr-14-18  zborris8: <Submitted> Khan's simul game vs Aitken - this is a newly corroborated score. It is no.83a in Aitken's Chess Scorebook which is at the Edinburgh Chess Club.

[Event "Oxford"]
[Site "Oxford"]
[Date "1933.11.23"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sultan Khan, Mir"]
[Black "Aitken, J."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C36"]
[PlyCount "112"]
[EventDate "1933.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 d5 4. exd5 Nf6 5. c4 c6 6. dxc6 Nxc6 7. d4 Bb4+ 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Bxf4 Bg4 10. d5 Re8+ 11. Be2 Qb6 12. dxc6 Rad8 13. Bd2 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Ne4 15. Nd4 Bxe2 16. Qb3 Bxc4 17. Qxb6 axb6 18. O-O-O Nf2 19. cxb7 Bd5 20. Bg5 f6 21. Bf4 Bxb7 22. Bc7 Rd7 23. Bxb6 Nxh1 24. Rxh1 Bxg2 25. Rg1 Bd5 26. a4 Re3 27. Rg3 Rxg3 28. hxg3 Kf7 29. a5 Bc4 30. Kb2 h5 31. Ka3 g5 32. Kb4 Ba6 33. Nb3 Rd6 34. Nc5 Bc8 35. Bc7 Rc6 36. Bb8 Ba6 37. Ba7 h4 38. gxh4 gxh4 39. Bb8 h3 40. Bh2 f5 41. Nxa6 Rxa6 42. Kb5 Ra8 43. a6 Kg6 44. Kb6 Kg5 45. Kb7 Rxa6 46. Kxa6 f4 47. c4 f3 48. c5 f2 49. c6 f1=Q+ 50. Kb7 Qb5+ 51. Kc7 Kf6 52. Kd6 Qd3+ 53. Kc7 Ke7 54. Kc8 Qe2 55. Bb8 Qa6+ 56. Kc7 h2 0-1


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <[Event "Simul, 14b"]
[Site "Oxford ENG"]
[Date "1933.11.23"]

Sure of the date? The <Hastings & St. Leonards Observer> of December 2nd gives November 25th.

Apr-14-18  zborris8: <MissScarlett> Khan participated in a London tournament on November the 25th, 1933.


[Event "Imperial CC v Cambridge University"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "1933.11.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sultan Khan, Mir"]
[Black "Craddock, James Marston"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C14"]
[PlyCount "84"]
[EventDate "1933.11.25"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]
[Source "John Saunders"]
[SourceDate "2016.02.22"]
[WhiteTeam "Imperial CC"]
[BlackTeam "Cambridge University"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 a6 7. Qg4 h5 8. Qf4 c5 9. dxc5 f6 10. exf6 gxf6 11. Bh6 e5 12. Qd2 Nxc5 13. Be2 Bg4 14. f3 Be6 15. O-O-O Nc6 16. g4 d4 17. Ne4 Nxe4 18. fxe4 hxg4 19. Rf1 Rc8 20. a3 Qb6 21. Bg7 Na5 22. Qd3 Rg8 23. Bh6 Nb3+ 24. Kd1 Nc5 25. Qd2 Nxe4 26. Qd3 f5 27. Bc1 Bc4 28. Qxc4 Rxc4 29. Bxc4 Rh8 30. Rh2 f4 31. Re1 g3 32. Rhe2 Nf2+ 33. Kd2 e4 34. Rxe4 Nxe4+ 35. Rxe4 d3 36. Nh3 Rxh4 37. Ng5 Rh2+ 38. Kxd3 Qd6+ 39. Kc3 Qf6+ 40. Kb3 Qxg5 41. Bxf4 Qg4 42. Bd6 Qd1 0-1

<Source: Times Literary Supplement, 7 Dec 1933.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Now I'm up to speed with the English Chess Forum discussion about this game. The link won't post properly for some reason.

There's no need to post the full score of submitted games.

Apr-23-18  Chessinfinite: Not surprisingly, Khan's page is swarming with Brits, just like it must have been when he beat Tartakower or when he won the British Championship..
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