Whenever a great player is moving towards the end of his or her career, questions are asked about who will take their place. This question is being raised in the Indian chess community also. While Anand isn't done yet, he is currently far from regaining his place at the top. So, who's the next big thing in this sport from India?
Hopes are high from the likes of Vidit Gujrathi and Swapnil Dhopade as they have achieved some success in important events over the years. But now there is a new name that is emerging on the horizon of Indian chess who could possibly become a superstar in future.
The boy wonder
Nihal Sarin made history while participating in the TePe Sigeman & Co International chess tournament in Sweden when he reached 2600 rating. This is a very important mark in the Elo rating system and is considered the entry point into the big league of chess players.
Grandmaster Sarin, who was just 14 years and ten months old at the time, becomes the youngest Indian to reach this landmark. But what is most exciting is that he is the third youngest among all players to get there. The only two chess masters to reach the mark before Nihal are China's Wei Yi, who is also the youngest to reach the 2700 rating mark, and USA's John M Burke, the youngest ever to reach this distinction.
If one compares his feat to that of other greats of the game, the importance of his accomplishment becomes clear. The current World Champion Magnus Carlsen got to this key figure at the age of 15. So, we can expect great things from the Indian teenager in the years to come.
Born in 2004, Sarin became a Candidate Master in 2014 when he was less than 10 years old. Next year, in 2015, he earned the title of FIDE Master. 2017 saw the boy turning International Master and he earned the right to be called Grandmaster last year. Among under-16 players around the world, he is ranked 3rd, while in Asia, he occupies the 2nd position.
With this distinction, Sarin will now be expected to achieve soaring heights of success. But his next target has to be reaching 2700 rating. Who knows, he would create history on getting there as well. Then we can entertain hopes of another World Champion from India.