Rahul Srivatshav becomes India's 74th Grandmaster

The 19-year-old reached the 2500 Elo live rating mark during the 9th Cattolica Chess Festival 2022 in Italy.

P. Rahul Srivasthav, who won the GM title in the ongoing tournament in Italy.   -  Special Arrangement

The long wait for P. Rahul Srivasthav has finally ended.

The 19-year-old Rahul got the first three GM norms in 2019 and then had to wait for two years because of the pandemic break to be back in the circuit to finish joint-winner in the 2021 US Masters championship and earn the fourth GM norm.

Now, almost a year later, he earned the stipulated GM title after crossing the magical ELO2500-mark in the on-going Cattolica Chess Festival (he got the fifth GM norm before in the Festival D Estate event, Italy, recently) on Friday night to be the fourth GM from Telangana and 74th from India.

Interestingly, Rahul, a huge fan of World champion Magnus Carlsen, took a break from his academics during the holidays from the Texas University where he is pursuing under-graduate course in Economics and Finance, to participate in Cattolica Festival and earn this coveted title.

Known for his amazing calculation ability when he was eight, Rahul caught the imagination of his parents and well-wishers and was immediately put in chess under the first coach Muralikrishna.

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Once he won the State under-9 title in 2011, his parents P. Srkikanth, Mechanical Engineering graduate who works in IClean Technologies, which often financially supported the young chess talent, and mother Vijayalakshmi (housewife) decided to back him to the hilt.

N.V. S. Ramaraju, the coach who guided Dronavalli Harika to be the GM and also later on Harsha Bharat Koti, Arjun Erigaisi, Raja Rithvik to earn the GM title, informed ‘Sportstar’ that Rahul was too good in the middle-game and had amazing memory.

“Rahul joined me when his ELO was 1700 and was with me for four years when the focus was on all-round improvement before he left for US last year and has been training with Dutch coach Sipke Ernst since then has always been a gifted talent,” Ramaraju said.

“He has a lot of balance in most aspects of the game and I am not surprised with this steady growth at the highest level,” Ramaraju said.

For his part, one of the first things, Rahul, who interestingly never won any national title in any age group and became the IM in 2017, but was mostly in the top three in most of them, did was to call up his parents last night and exclaim – one big dream fulfilled.

Rahul also conveyed to his parents that this GM title is a huge morale-booster for him to chase the ultimate goal – to be a world

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