KOCHI: Magnus Carlsen did it at 15. Nihal Sarin has got there a year earlier!
The Grandmaster from Kerala became the youngest Indian to cross the 2600 rating after earning a draw against GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu in the second round of the TePe Sigeman & Co International tournament underway in Malmo, Sweden. He is also the third youngest in the world to achieve this feat.
“I don’t have much to say about getting to the 2600 rating. I am happy but more work needs to be done. I should improve more,” Sarin told this newspaper from Sweden.
At the start of the tournament, Sarin was on 2598 points and he had set the goal of joining the 2600 club. In the first round, the boy wonder drew against Grandmaster Ivan Saric. The two points earned helped him create history.
“I was a bit uncertain about the nuances of the opening (Sicilian Sveshnikov) and was under pressure right from the beginning. He (Nisipeanu) hurried with 28.c5 which allowed him to win a pawn but also gave me excellent drawing chances,” Sarin said.
John Burk of United States is the youngest player to get to 2600 and the second youngest is Wei Yi of China.
Sarin was critical of himself after his first round match where he was in a winning position, only to settle for a draw. “I feel sad at missing out on such a great position. It was physically draining to keep playing at my normal level in the final moments in the seventh hour of play,” he said.
Parimarjan Negi had crossed the 2600 mark way back in 2009, which had made him the youngest Indian to have broken the barrier, at the age of 15 years 11 months. Sarin, who is two months away from turning 15, has broken that record by nearly a year. He is currently ranked 17th in the top 100 junior world ranking.
Sarin had drawn praise from none other than chess legend Viswanathan Anand after the two played against each other in the TATA Steel Rapid Chess tournament back in November last year. Anand was held to a draw by Sarin and the former world champion had tipped him to become a world champion in the future.
His latest feat is a sign that he may just live up to those tall expectations.