Sophia's Blog

Sophia's Blog

14 years old Mastermind of India

Chess is considered one of the most complex sports, something that is a dying art, not a spectator sport. In this fast-paced world, it is very hard to find the master of this art but luckily India has a few of them and you might not believe that among those talented artists, one is just 14 years old.

Astonished? Believe it or not Nihal Sarin, a 14-year-old lad from Kerela has managed to become the youngest Grandmaster in the history of India chess and the twelfth in world chess history. Nihal has achieved a milestone and that too at such an early age which others fails, even after years and years of practice. He believes that after reaching the title, part of his life is done and dusted, and now he can move to bigger goals. He is currently the world’s best Under 14 chess player and unbelievably, at the age of fourteen, he holds the world number two position in the Under 18 rankings with an impressive ELO rating of 2532.

“Whoever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one’s opponent will never become a good Chess player.” – Max Euwe

Let’s start from the beginning

The Grandmaster Nihal Sarin was born on July 13, 2004, in Thrissur, Kerala, India. He was born in an upscale family, where both his parents were doctors. While raising him, the environment was very cheerful, and all the necessary comforts and requirements of life provided to him. He was very inquiring and reckless since his childhood days, the one who could only get content with a book in his hand. Nihal was never asked to do so, but he insisted on learning new things from different books. His family had to move out of Thrissur for some reasons, but the relocation did not have any impact on Nihal and his curious nature.

By the age of three, he had memorized the flags with the names of 190 countries, the whole atlas and it was believed that he had an eidetic memory. Regardless of the book and regardless of the subject, he would read everything with full concentration. Being doctors, his parents could not give enough time to their son, but unlike other children, it doesn’t affect Nihal. He got hold of a few biology books and learned the name of all the butterflies and mammals. At the age of five, he wanted to spend his time in some sports, but age being the only limitation in the decision of choosing a suitable game for him. To be honest, he was not good at sports, and he suffered from a minor accident which marked as an end to his skating career.

Nihal Sarin is a 14-year-old India’s Chess Grandmaster with a FIDE rating of 2610.

“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.” – LL Cool J

Picking Up The Pace

At the age of six, his parents enrolled him in the first standard. It seems impossible to satisfy Nihal’s curiosity, so they decided to introduce him to chess. His grandfather Mr. A.A. Ummar, who resided in Kottayam, taught him the rules of the game and that was it. From that moment onwards, it became impossible to separate Nihal with chess. He spent the whole summer learning the rules and playing with his father and grandfather.

After the vacations, Nihal rejoined school, furthermore took chess as an extracurricular activity, and was formally trained by the school’s sports coach Mr. Matthew P. Joseph Pottoore. With time he became excellent in the sport and started getting command as he dominated other kids of the school. Nihal had to abandon the school chess team as he had to relocate back to Thrissur in 2011-12 and here he was enrolled in Devamatha CMI Public School. By this time Nihal had already made up his mind that he had to make his career in chess and his parents were nothing but amazed and proud of their son’s ambition.

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