Iniyan set to make big moves

"I want to become a Grandmaster within a year," says P. Iniyan, who will be playing in the World Youth (Under-16) Chess Olympiad and the Under-16 Worlds next year.

Tamil Nadu's National sub-junior champion P. Iniyan in action at the RSC Open all-India FIDE-rating chess tournament in Kochi.   -  Stan Rayan

His father, Panneer Selvam, was a decent cricketer in Erode and was even the captain of one of the top teams in the district. P. Iniyan, however, did not go bonkers over the popular sport. He chose a quieter sport, chess, where battles are fought silently over 64 squares.

“He was just five then…and at that age, chess appeared the apt sport for him,” said Iniyan’s dad who taught him the first moves.

A year later, he went to a chess academy near his home and soon began making some very impressive moves.

“I was the silver medallist in the Under-7 Tamil Nadu State Championship and won the silver at the Under-7 Nationals in 2009. And the next year, I went for the Under-8 Asian meet and the World Championship in Greece where I tied for the bronze but got the fifth spot,” said Iniyan, who won the sub-junior National (under-15) title in Jammu in September. That victory was special for it was the 13-year-old’s maiden National triumph.

Iniyan, who is now playing the RSC Open all-India FIDE-rating tournament at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium in Kochi, where he is the top seed, has set some big goals for himself.

“I want to become a Grandmaster within a year,” said the Standard VIII student of the Indian Public School, Erode, during a short break between the seventh and eighth round games.

The youngster now travels thrice a month to Chennai where he is coached by K. Visweswaran, who has shaped many young players into Grandmasters.

Grandmasters are produced at a very young age in the country and in some cases, players gain the GM norms even before picking up an International Master norm.

So, does that put pressure on young players to push harder?

“No, it just inspires us, makes us believe that we can do it too,” said Iniyan who will be playing the World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad and the Under-16 Worlds next year.

Rich experience

With his school and teachers being very understanding towards his cause and goals, Iniyan, who admires Viswanathan Anand and Garry Kasparov, played six GM-norm tournaments last year.

“One was in Abu Dhabi, the rest were in India itself. That experience has really helped my son,” said Panneer Selvam. “Because, even if you lose, you get to meet strong players, players who have something like 200 Elo points more than Iniyan (Elo rating 2280).”

With that sort of experience under his belt, Iniyan is set to make bigger moves.