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Mir Sultan Khan
Sultan Khan 
Number of games in database: 208
Years covered: 1928 to 1935

Overall record: +112 -48 =37 (66.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 11 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (29) 
    D05 D02 D04 A46 E10
 Queen's Indian (7) 
    E18 E16 E12 E15 E17
 French Defense (7) 
    C01 C00 C13 C11
 Caro-Kann (5) 
    B13 B18
 Center Game (5) 
    C22 C21
 Sicilian (5) 
    B20 B29 B83
With the Black pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (13) 
    E23 E24 E38 E44 E41
 Ruy Lopez (11) 
    C79 C88 C78 C71 C74
 Queen's Pawn Game (11) 
    A46 D02 D00 A40
 Orthodox Defense (10) 
    D50 D55 D51 D57
 Caro-Kann (9) 
    B15 B12 B13 B10
 Sicilian (9) 
    B32 B46 B33 B30
Repertoire Explorer

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   British Championship (1931)
   Sultan Khan - Tartakower (1931)
   British Championship (1932)
   British Championship (1933)
   British Championship (1929)
   Liege (1930)
   Hastings 1930/31 (1930)
   Hastings 1932/33 (1932)
   Hastings 1931/32 (1931)
   London (1932)
   Berne (1932)
   Hamburg Olympiad (1930)
   Scarborough (1930)
   Prague Olympiad (1931)
   Folkestone Olympiad (1933)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Mir Sultan Khan by samsloan
   Sultan Khan: Chess Biography by Dhamal Goda
   Sultan Khan: Chess Biography by jessicafischerqueen
   Berne 1932 by Tabanus
   Mir Sultan Khan - the unsung Grandmaster by MTuraga
   Sultan Khan - Tartakower by Chessical
   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

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 Dewhirst 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 - Sultan Khan - Tartakower (1931) 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 died in Sargodha, Pakistan in 1966. Although he was clearly of grandmaster strength during his playing career, FIDE never awarded him any title.


E Spencer/ G Abrahams vs Sultan Khan / Yates, 1931

Wikipedia article: Mir Sultan Khan

Last updated: 2023-02-21 19:17:16

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 208  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Sultan Khan vs Gurubaksh Rai 1-0331928Ch-All IndiaC22 Center Game
2. Ramsukh Kaka vs Sultan Khan  0-1451928Ch-All IndiaD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. Sultan Khan vs V N Gadre 1-0241928Ch-All IndiaC44 King's Pawn Game
4. Sultan Khan vs Morbhat Mehendale  1-0771928Ch-All IndiaC44 King's Pawn Game
5. Sultan Khan vs N J Roughton  1-0381928Ch-All IndiaD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
6. Manzur Hassan vs Sultan Khan  0-1361928Ch-All IndiaC00 French Defense
7. V K Khadilkar vs Sultan Khan 0-1511928Ch-All IndiaD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Sultan Khan vs N R Joshi 1-0251928Ch-All IndiaC21 Center Game
9. Sultan Khan vs S V Bodas  ½-½441928Ch-All IndiaC49 Four Knights
10. B Siegheim vs Sultan Khan 0-1371929MatchD57 Queen's Gambit Declined, Lasker Defense
11. Capablanca vs Sultan Khan 0-1241929Simul, 35bD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Sultan Khan vs Yates  0-1681929Quadrangular tE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
13. A G Conde vs Sultan Khan  0-1551929Quadrangular tD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Sultan Khan vs W Winter  0-1381929Quadrangular tB20 Sicilian
15. Yates vs Sultan Khan 1-0461929Quadrangular tC17 French, Winawer, Advance
16. F E Hamond vs Sultan Khan 1-0431929British ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
17. Sultan Khan vs G Abrahams 1-0371929British ChampionshipC01 French, Exchange
18. W Fairhurst vs Sultan Khan 0-1401929British ChampionshipD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. H E Price vs Sultan Khan  0-1381929British ChampionshipB12 Caro-Kann Defense
20. R P Michell vs Sultan Khan 0-1561929British ChampionshipD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
21. Sultan Khan vs W Winter ½-½731929British ChampionshipB20 Sicilian
22. A Eva vs Sultan Khan ½-½411929British ChampionshipD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
23. Sultan Khan vs E Irving 0-1281929Simul, 33bB01 Scandinavian
24. Sultan Khan vs C W Brown  0-1291929Simul, 33bA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
25. Sultan Khan vs R N Coles 1-0351929SimulD85 Grunfeld
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 208  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 3 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-25-05  shortsight: Hey, if Sultan Khan can managed 50% against the world elite, that's already very very good. How many in the world at the time have the chance to play against the bests in the world, let alone have ~50% score? The fact still remains that he's very good, at least around top 10 at the time.
Apr-26-05  samikd: <I would have thought he or his master would have forced that upon Khan during non-tournament times> Well I dont think he was competent enough to do that. He was not a Chess Master, just an ethusiast. And I doubt if there was any competent coach in India at that time. And Khan couldnt read Chess Books himself, because was probably illeterate
Apr-26-05  wkargel: Indeed...Khan would have had to remain in England and been formally trained (including opening theory) to have become truly competative in chess events in prewar Europe. Learning to read and write would of course helped a lot, but even just being coached on the basic principles would have improved his play.

So who would have/could have coached Mir Sultan Khan in the 1930s if he had remained in England?


Apr-26-05  pazzed paun: <Shortsight> go back and LOOK at the record S.K. would more like be top 25-30. HE is one of very lowest ranked in Divinskys book lifemaps of the great masters.
Apr-27-05  shortsight: <pazzed paun> If he's top 25-30, then he shouldn't have been one the most hyped player of all time anyway. All in all, your posts sounded more like a sour grape than anything that an illiterate Indian servant can be that good.
Apr-27-05  Runemaster: Given that Sultan Khan died in 1966, he was still alive when Fide started awarding titles in 1950. Does anyone know whether Sultan Khan was given a title either in 1950 or later?

I've seen on this page that there is some argument about exactly how strong he was, but his tournament results and wins against many GMs indicate to me that he should probably have been awarded the GM title himself, and he was certainly at least of strong IM strength.

Apr-27-05  Jamespawn: His rating would qualify him as a GM. Considering he had just learned European moves and didn`t know the openings he ranked favorably with other players of the 20`s ...

Khan 2530
Marshall 2570
Tartakower 2560
Reti 2550
Janowski 2570
Mieses 2490
Yates 2470

Apr-27-05  maoam: <Jamespawn>

Learning the Western rules wouldn't be difficult for Sultan Khan, the only difference is that a pawn can advance two squares on it's first more, and pawns can be promoted to any piece.

Apr-27-05  Jamespawn: True maoam. Whats amazing to me was that he was competitive with people who had studied the openings so much more than Khan apparently did. I`m trying to learn some openings now and its really difficult. I wish I knew a better way.
Apr-27-05  Jamespawn: I thought the rules for castling were different , but I`m really not sure.
Apr-27-05  kvcs: kvcs: Regarding Mir Sultan Kahn's (MSK)
exploits and accomplishments====> has his records and
ratings. These data are generally
regarded as more comprehesive that
FIDE archives. Jeff Sonas has done
EXCELLENT work in this area. Upon
reviewing these first rate achievements,
it should be apparent to anyone that MSK
was a first rank GM for any era.

In the simplest terms:
the "Mir" was NO "mere" Master.

No one, as yet, has satisfied my query of
Monday 14 Feb 2005: "...Please let me know
you know what Mir Sultan Khan's first Chess
love is....".

....with warm regards, Molly
Chess Correspondent for KV Chess Society

Apr-27-05  Caissanist: Jeff Sonas has indeed done excellent work in researching and compiling player results, and his site is a wonderful resource. However, I don't completely agree with the results of his rating formula in this case. He has Khan at #6 in the world in June 1933, but if you review Khan's results, 10 or 15 would seem to be a fairer placing. Sonas's formula tends to overrate highly active players, and Khan was very active in 1932.
Apr-27-05  acirce: Yep, as he says on his page

<The reason I call attention to this is that it is an extremely important difference between my Chessmetrics ratings and both the FIDE and Professional schemes. In both of those, if you don't play any games, your rating doesn't change. It could be argued that there is an incentive for top players NOT to play, because they would be risking their high rating which after all is used to guide tournament invitations and even world championship seeding. If we were instead using a scheme like mine which penalizes inactivity and rewards activity, I think we would see the top players playing more frequently, which everyone (except their opponents!) would be happy about.>

I don't know if this makes any sense. Surely you're not automatically getting weaker if you don't play so is there any reason to penalize this other than some kind of punishment? And then what is the reason to do it when calculating historical ratings?

Another problem with Chessmetrics ratings are all the rapid games that still seem to be included. Mostly for modern players though of course.

Apr-27-05  Jamespawn: Molly, what do you mean by Khan`s first chess love?
Apr-27-05  kvcs: <Jamespawn>

"Apr-27-05 Jamespawn: Molly, what do
you mean by Khan`s first chess love?"

Very simple; as I am told: when Mir
Sultan Kahn learned "Chess", his
first indoctrination [love, if you will]
was NOT the international Chess we play
today, or then for that matter.

When he left India and travelled west,
he had to adapt not only to the rules,
but to the style of play, PIECE
placement(!), and main objectives of
what we today call CHESS.

In short, this 'love' has a name [both
colloquial and true]. We at KVCS want
to know if anyone else knows either or

....with warm [soon to be on vacation]
regards, Molly (Chess Correspondent, KVCS)

Apr-27-05  TheSlid: Please could someone who "gets" <kvcs> tell me wtf this and all the other stuff is about...
Apr-27-05  Jamespawn: Ask Molly she`ll tell you...if you catch her before she goes on her vacation. She answered my question. I think she is curious about the form of chess played in India , but I can`t remember the name of the game. Challangara or something like that.
Apr-27-05  ughaibu: Jamespawn: I think you'll find it's chaturanga. Try a search on the Fischer Random page, I think someone once gave a link.
Apr-27-05  TheSlid: Thanks <Jamespawn> but my question is wider, just what is Molly on about? I've tried and tried and i just can't get it.
Apr-27-05  Jamespawn: Thanks ughaibu. I couldn`t remember exactly what the game was called. When Molly sees these posts she can go and look it up or do a word search. From reading her earlier posts Slid I think I read that she reports on chess or has some interest in chess , but I can`t really remember. Click on her name and it should tell you more about her.
Apr-28-05  pazzed paun: For some reason this page seems to attract more nonsense than almost as other page!! I think the story of S.K. shows that the opening was not very important all the way into the mid 1930's and that amateurs tend to overvalue the importance of the openings!
Apr-28-05  maoam: <Jamespawn> <I thought the rules for castling were different , but I`m really not sure.>

Ah yes, I forgot that! In Indian chess I believe you have to place the king on e7, d7 or f7, a rook move, then a knight move with the king to the side the rook was on.

I agree with your point though, it's amazing that Sultan Khan could compete with players like Alekhine who made extensive study of the opening.

Apr-28-05  your brilliance: <maoam><Jamespawn> What I know of the "castling rule" for the king in Shatranj/ Indian chess is this: The king is allowed one move as a knight, period. The king must not have been moved prior to that move, but I don't recall if this special move can be used to escape from a check.

I believe this is why the so-called Indian openings involve a fianchetto. A fianchetto on the king side prepares a natural spot for the king.

Apr-28-05  pazzed paun: <maoam> S.K. could not compete with ALEKHINE!! he never even got a draw off him! THE OPENING discussions make about as much sense as a five year old give tips on the stockmarket! IN the 1930"s you did not need to know a lot of theory.
May-13-05  GBREAL: <pazzed paun> What are you talking about! S.K. was a outstanding master. Just look at his results. He never opened a book about chess and was competing in international competition after just learning the European rules! Not without defeating some of the greats too. Whats this non sense about him scoring badly against some of the greats players. Considering that he didn't play long who knows how he would have scored against these players in the future? Lets see ALekhine said Khan might have become world champion,Capablanca called him a genius Fine acknowledged him as a great player as well as Tarkatower who has 4 S.K. games in his book 500 Master games of chess 1 which was against ALekhine and was a draw! in which Alekhine was the one to force it! Had sultan khan study the chess openings (which was a major weakness) I wouldn't doubt him a being a world champion candidate. SO it obvious that he was a great player which was a sad lost to the chess world when he left.....So bringing up this trash about him being 'over-hyped' and that other crap!
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