Picture Source: Chess-mate
Manuel Aaron (born 30 December 1935, Toungoo, Burma) was the first Indian chess master in the modern tradition. He dominated chess in India in the 1960s to the 1980s, was the national champion of India nine times between 1959 and 1981. He was India's first International Master, and is one of the key figures in introducing international chess practices to India; until the 1960s.
Aaron became an International Master when he won the West Asian Zonal against Mongolia's Sukien Momo 3-1 and the Asian-Australian Zonal final C.J.S. Purdy of Australia 3-0 in 1961. During those early days of chess, it was indeed a big achievement for an Indian chess player.
In 1962 Aaron qualified for the Stockholm Inter-Zonal and although finishing last he got the better of grandmasters Lajos Portisch and Wolfgang Uhlmann. In recognition of this performance, Aaron was conferred the Arjuna Award, the first chess player to be so honoured.
Aaron captained the Indian teams to the Chess Olympiads at Leipzjg, Germany (1960) and Varna, Bulgaria (1962). He also participated in the 1964 Tel Aviv Chess Olympiad.