|Mir Sultan Khan (1905 - 1966) was generally considered to have been the strongest chess master of his time from Asia. He was also the first Asian chess master since As-Suli to have been recognized in Europe.|
Born in a part of India, now part of Pakistan, he was brought to England by his master in 1929. There he won the British Chess Championship in 1929, 1932 and 1933 and played for England in the Chess Olympiads of 1931 and 1933.
In less than four years, he rose to the top of the chess world, playing with the world´s great masters, such as Alexander Alekhine, José Raúl Capablanca, Max Euwe, Aaron Nimzowitsch, and Akiba Rubinstein.
He was one of a few players who had a plus record against Capablanca. He also had a plus record against Frank Marshall and Savielly Tartakower. His most notable victory was the game he won against former world champion Capablanca at the Hastings tournament of 1930 (moves given in Algebraic chess notation):
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 b6 3.c4 Bb7 4.Nc3 e6 5.a3 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Bg5 Be7 8.e3 O-O 9.Bd3 Ne4 10.Bf4 Nd7 11.Qc2 f5 12.Nb5 Bd6 13.Nxd6 cxd6 14.h4 Rc8 15.Qb3 Qe7 16.Nd2 Ndf6 17.Nxe4 fxe4 18.Be2 Rc6 19.g4 Rfc8 20.g5 Ne8 21.Bg4 Rc1+ 22.Kd2 R8c2+ 23.Qxc2 Rxc2+ 24.Kxc2 Qc7+ 25.Kd2 Qc4 26.Be2 Qb3 27.Rab1 Kf7 28.Rhc1 Ke7 29.Rc3 Qa4 30.b4 Qd7 31.Rbc1 a6 32.Rg1 Qa4 33.Rgc1 Qd7 34.h5 Kd8 35.R1c2 Qh3 36.Kc1 Qh4
37.Kb2 Qh3 38.Rc1 Qh4 39.R3c2 Qh3 40.a4 Qh4 41.Ka3 Qh3 42.Bg3 Qf5 43.Bh4 g6 44.h6 Qd7
45.b5 a5 46.Bg3 Qf5 47.Bf4 Qh3 48.Kb2 Qg2 49.Kb1 Qh3 50.Ka1 Qg2 51.Kb2 Qh3 52.Rg1 Bc8
53.Rc6 Qh4 54.Rgc1 Bg4 55.Bf1 Qh5 56.Re1 Qh1 57.Rec1 Qh5 58.Kc3 Qh4 59.Bg3 Qxg5 60.Kd2 Qh5
61.Rxb6 Ke7 62.Rb7+ Ke6 63.b6 Nf6 64.Bb5 Qh3 65.Rb8 1-0
His best years were the last two years, when he was probably ranked in the top ten in the world. In 1933, just when he was beginning to improve his performance, he was taken back to India by his master, and was never heard of by the chess world again.
His meteoric rise was parallel to Paul Morphy´s, who conquered the chess world in about three years. About eighty years later, Sultan Khan almost conquered the chess world in about four years. His was another bittersweet story in chess.
- The World´s Great Chess Games by Reuben Fine, Dover; 1983. ISBN 0486245128