Adding to the glory of Indian sports history, Nihal Sarin wins Junior Speed Chess Championship. This young Indian player emerged as the winner in the Chess.com’s 2020 Junior Speed Online Chess Championship. Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand praised the winner, saying “he is one of the world’s fastest juniors, and this result confirms it.”
Nihal Sarin won the championship by defeating Russia’s world junior no.6 Alexey Sarana 18-7 in the finals. The title win earned the 16-year old Sarin USD 8,766 and enabled him to qualify for the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Final, which will feature the world’s best players. Nihal had lost in the first round of the 2019 Junior Speed Chess event. He defeated American Andrew Tang, Australia’s Anton Smirnov and Armenian Haik Martirosyan on his way to the Junior Speed Chess title. Sarin is also a former World Under-10 champion. He intends to join the Indian men’s team which is taking part in the Asian Online Nations (Regions) Cup Team Championship.
Last year, Sarin crossed 2600 Elo in the live rating list, becoming the youngest-ever Indian and second-youngest in history to do so at the age of 14 years and 10 months. Also, he had gone past the previous Indian record held by Parimarjan Negi, who touched 2600 Elo at 15 years and 11 months, by a year.
It was his grandfather who had introduced him to chess at the tender age of seven to rein in his restless, boyish energy. Nihal went on to win the Asian U-10 rapid and blitz titles. He also won the World U-10 blitz title and was crowned U-10 Classical World champion in September 2014. He turned International Master at 12 years and 8 months, the same age at which Carlsen also achieved the feat, becoming the third-youngest in the world then to do so.
The month of August 2018 saw Sarin turning the Grandmaster after winning his third norm at the Abu Dhabi Masters with 5.5 points from nine matches with a round to spare.
Past winners of the Speed Chess Championship include Magnus Carlsen (2017) and Hikaru Nakamura (2018, 2019). The youngest player in history to cross 2600 is Wei Yi at 14 years, 4 months and 30 days.