Ghulam Kassim

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Chess scene in British India (around 1800)

Ghulam Kassim (* unknown; † 1844 in British India ) was a 19th century Indian chess player .

In the British colonial days of India, European chess met the Indian form of the game. Ghulam Kassim was the first recorded player in India to be considered a master in western chess.

Almost nothing is known about the life of Ghulam Kassim, who lived in the city of Madras . He died in 1844.

Correspondence games and chess book

The Indian master took part in a leading position in a correspondence competition between the chess clubs of the cities of Madras and Hyderabad . The games were played in 1828 and 1829 and both were won by Madras. They are among the earliest correspondence chess games and are also the oldest recorded games from India.

At the side of Ghulam Kassim, who led the games for Madras, quarreled James Cochrane (around 1770-1830), an employee of the Madras Civil Service . The latter has often been confused with the British master John Cochrane , who happened to be in India at the same time.

Ghulam Kassim and James Cochrane published a 63-page book in 1829 under the title "Analysis of the Muzio Gambit, and Match of two Games at Chess, played between Madras and Hyderabad". This volume comprised the annotated distant games and some opening variations , but above all it contained a detailed analysis of the Muzio Gambit . This publication is widely regarded as the first opening monograph in chess literature . The name of Ghulam Kassim is mentioned in the first place as the author.

Ghulam Kassim Gambit

As a result of the published analyzes, a variant of the King's Gambit was named after Ghulam Kassim .

Ghulam Kassim Gambit

The sharp “Ghulam-Kassim-Gambit”, which is considered to be incorrect today, arises from the following moves: 1. e2 – e4 e7 – e5 2. f2 – f4 e5xf4 3. Ng1 – f3 g7 – g5 4. Bf1 – c4 g5-g4 5. d2-d4 . It is a rarely chosen alternative to the Muzio gambit (5. 0–0). In the Ghulam-Kassim Gambit, White puts back short castling (and thus the activation of his rook) and instead enforces the pawn advance e4 – e5 without sacrificing pawns .


  • Analysis of the Muzio Gambit, and Match of two Games at Chess, played between Madras and Hyderabad, with Remarks by Ghulam Kassim, of Madras, who had the Chief Direction of the Madras Games, and James Cochrane, Esq. of the Madras Civil Service , Madras 1829.


  1. ^ Anton Schmid : (tschaturangavidjâ.) Literature of the game of chess. Vienna 1847, p. 179f. (with wrong year of publication 1839) .

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