KOCHI: Chess prodigy Nihal Sarin is full of confidence ahead of the Grand Swiss tournament which begins in the Isle of Man today.
All the attention will be on heavyweights like Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Viswanathan Anand, but for young Nihal, the tournament is another step in his fledgeling career.
The event comes after an impressive outing in the World Cup which was held in September. Nihal made it to the second round and his win against Jorge Cori caught the attention of many.
“I am more confident about myself now. It was a great experience but I was not satisfied with my performance. I played well in three games and the fourth one was also going good, but I did not handle the pressure properly. That’s something to work on,” the 15-year-old said.
Nihal, who was the youngest member of the Indian contingent, sees the World Cup as another lesson for him.
“Knock-out tournaments are a unique experience. The pressure of going wrong when one mistake is enough to eliminate you was something new for me,” Nihal said.
What has also helped Nihal is a new long term sponsorship deal which will offer the support he needs in the long run. He signed with dairy company Akshayakalpa Organic Milk.
“I think it will put me in a good position to do what I feel I should do — focus on the process rather than the results,” he said.
Attention has firmly shifted to the Grand Swiss which will run for a total of 11 rounds.
The participation of the likes of Carlsen, Caruana and Anand enhances the level of competition and it will be a priceless experience for Nihal to be participating in such an event.
“It will be a lot of fun to play the Grand Swiss. My goal, as usual, is to take it one game at a time. I have certain process goals, and I will focus on them. If I manage to take care of the games with black pieces, I think it will be great. Grand Swiss is more like any other tournament I normally play. It is quite long though — 11 rounds. Let us see how it goes,” said Nihal.