Nihal Sarin, who is 12 years and nine months old, is one of the world’s youngest IMs. The lad from Thrissur has just scored his first GM norm. Sarin finished joint third at The TV 2 Open in Fagernes, Norway, scoring six points from nine rounds. He also won the rapid event, scoring 5.5/6.
Sarin is already too old (!) to break Sergei Karjakin’s record for youngest-ever GM. Karjakin took the title at 12 years and seven months. But Nihal could become the second-youngest GM, beating Parimarjan Negi’s record. Negi did it at 13 years, 143 days and Magnus Carlsen did it aged 13, 148 days.
Sarin has put on a strength-spurt in the past six months as he has clinched the IM title and seamlessly moved into the ranks of GM-aspirants. He’s now regularly beating 2600-plus GMs and what’s more, he’s doing it with strategic play in complicated positions.
In other news, Himangshu Sharma (34) has became Haryana’s first GM and India’s 47th. India’s first GM, the one and only Viswanathan Anand, finished third in the Korchnoi Memorial in Zurich.
double-rounder had one “neo-classical” control (45 minutes all moves + 30 seconds increment from move 1) and one blitz control (10 mins+ 5 sec increment). The neo-classical was scored at 2/win and 1/draw while the blitz was 1/ win and 0.5/draw. Hikaru Nakamura won for the third time running, scoring 15 points from 14 games; he won both sections scoring 10/7 (neo) and 5/7 (blitz). Ian Nepomniachchi was second (14) and Anand third (13.5). Peter Svidler (12), Vlad Kramnik (11) and Boris Gelfand (9) finished lower down. Anand started horribly with two losses in the neo, including one to Nepomniachchi from a near-winning position. Subsequent recovery of form was not quite enough.
The Grenke Super GM Classic is in play now. This is an eight-player round robin (classical controls) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Levon Aronian leads with four points from five games. Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan share second with 3 each. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Arkady Naiditsch ( both 2.5), and Georg Meier and Matthias Bluebaum (both 1) make up the unbalanced field.
The Diagram (White: Nihal Sarin Vs Black: Evgeny Postny, Fagernes 2017), WHITE TO PLAY, is one of NIhal’s wins against strong GMs. (Postny is rated 2606). White’s played ice-cool chess, grabbing pawns and leaving his king in the centre. Now he exploits geometric themes to hit f6, the undefended Rd8 and open up black’s king.
White played 47.f4!! Bxf4 [ The alternate is 47...Qxf4 48.Rf1 and f6 cracks] 48.Rg1 Qh6 49.Bxf6+! Kxf6 50.Qe6+ Kg7 51.Qe7+ Kg8 52.Qxd8+ Kh7 Black’s stranded Qh6 makes perpetual check impossible. White finished with 53.Qe7+ Kg8 54.d6 Bd2 55.Qe8+ Kg7 56.Rxg6+! (1–0).
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player