Chess: Prodigy Nihal, IM at 12, destined for bigger things

Nihal Sarin has just become an International Master (IM). He has done it at the age of 12. Neither fact should come as a surprise. This little prodigy from Thrissur is destined for much greater things on the chessboard.

Nihal Sarin’s next goal will be to become a Grandmaster as quickly as possible.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Nihal Sarin, at the tender age of 12, has just become an International Master (IM). The fact that he has achieved this should not come as a surprise.

This little prodigy from Thrissur is destined for much greater things on the chessboard and there is no question about that.

Not that becoming an IM is insignificant. It is a milestone in any chess player’s career. In fact, it is the first significant title for a player.

Nihal got his by completing his third and final norm from the Aeroflot Open, which concluded in Moscow a couple of days ago. He came up with a fine show in the tournament too, finishing with 5.5 points from nine rounds; among his victims were two Grandmasters.

He had his first norm from the Capella-la-Grande Open in France, and the second from the Sunway Sitges Open in Spain; both of those events were held last year. It means he hasn’t had to wait too long for his title. He could now focus on bigger targets.

To become a Grandmaster as quickly as possible should be his next aim. Besides the three norms, he has to take his rating to 2,500 points for that.

To do all that he needs to play in more quality tournaments. He deserves all the support for that -- be it from the Kerala government or the corporate houses.

The last time one met Nihal, during the World Junior Chess Championship at Bhubaneswar a few months ago, his mother had talked about the huge cost involved in ensuring that he gets enough exposure.

K. Ratnakaran, another IM from Kerala, also feels Nihal needs sponsors at this stage of his career.

"Players like me have suffered because we didn't get sponsors when we needed them most," Ratnakaran said.

"Nihal is easily the most gifted chess player produced by Kerala ever. He has a phenomenal memory and he has a clear idea about every move he makes, which you normally won't find in players of his age.

"Nihal has already proved himself in age-group tournaments. He has won the World Under-10 titles in both the classical and blitz events."

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