PanajirGoa’s chess sensation Anurag Mhamal finally achieved his dream of becoming a Grandmaster. On Wednesday, the news broke out from Spain that the Dempo Goodwill Ambassador entered history books by becoming the State’s first Grand Master and in the process gave India its 48th GM.r The list began with Vishy Anand, the first GM of India and went all the way upto Himanshu Sharma who recently became Haryana’s first GM and India’s 47th, before Anurag became the latest addition to the illustrious list.rThis is the highest title in the game of chess. Anurag is at present playing in 37th Benasque International Open in Spain where after 5 rounds of he gained 4.4 Elo points and surpassed the 2500 rating in the live Elo list. rAnurag ‘s present rating is 2477 and gained 21 Elo points by winning the 27th Open de Gros International at Spain just few days back. In brief he added 25.4 Elo rating points over two tournament to take is Elo tally to 2502. rHe defeated IM Romeo Sorin Milu ( 2381) and crossed the magical figure of 2500 Elo Rating. rThough the criteria for GM title is 3 GM norms, Anurag has 5 GM norms under his belt which he gained in the following tournaments: National Premier Chess Championship 2012 Kolkata, India; 32nd Open International Cappelle la Grande 2016 Paris, France; Czech Open ‘A’International Chess Tournament 2016 Pardubice, Czech; Karpos Internationa Open Chess Tournament 2017 Skopje, Mecedonia; 27th Open de Gros International Chess Tournament 2017 in Spain.rAnurag started playing chess at the age of 6 years and competed in many Nationals and International tournaments always working hard towards his goal of becoming a Grand Master and with lots of ups and downs he finally achieved his dream.rInitially, he got home coaching from and later on many people coached him. To name a few, Shiva Swamy, Prasanna Swamy and IM Raja Ravi Shekhar from Bengaluru were his mentors in the formative phase. rThe turning point of his chess career was IM Anup Deshmukh from Nagpur who after coaching him for some time noticed his talent and potential and advised the budding lad to obtain advanced coaching. r“Due to financial constraint with me being in service, it was not possible to arrange special coaching outside Goa. Anup Deshmukh came to my rescue and arranged a chess player Akash Thakur from Nagpur to coach Anurag,” revealed Anurag’s father Arvind Mhamal, adding: “rAkash Thakur stayed with us as a family member without demanding hotel accommodation which was out of my reach financially. It was only after Akash’s vigourous coaching that Anurag started progressing remarkably in chess.”rAkash, initially, also accompanied Anurag for tournaments that were held abroad. “He was not only the coach but I can say mentor, guide and a very good friend to him and even till date he is always available for advise and help. Besides, Anurag has also taken short term coaching from IM Vargues Khoshy, GM R B Ramesh, GM Praveen Thipse, IM Shashikant Kotwal, IM Satyapragyan on few occasions,” disclosed Arvind Mhamal.r“Financially we were finding it difficult to give him proper tournament exposure, and it was at this point that by God’s grace he was selected by the Dempo Group of Companies as their Goodwill Ambassodor in 2011. This was the major turning point in his life and thereon he did not look back as he got the much required financial boost in his chess career and the rest is history,” stated Anurag’s proud father, narrating that his real road to success was scripted thereafter.r“The Dempo backing gave my son the much-needed impetus to go all out. He started climbing the ladder by steadily winning titles and from being the 1st Fide Master of Goa he went on to become the 1st International Master of Goa and now the 1st Grand Master from Goa. Dempo’s sponsorship has played a major role in whatever he has achieved without which it was just impossible. We are grateful and thankful to Shrinivas Dempo, Chaiman of Dempo group of Companies and the officials Rajiv Kulkarni, Dr Krishna Goaplan and others at Dempo House for the financial and moral support,” said Arvind Mhamal, acknowleding the precious support from the Dempos. “I would also like to thank my friends in the Goa Chess Association namely Kishor Bandekar, Mahesh Candolkar, Balakrishnan V, for their support. I would like to thank the President of GCA Nilesh Cabral, Ex- Presidents Ashesh Keni and Vinay Tendulkar and all other Goa Chess Association office-bearers, my friends and family,” Arvind rsigned off.