Monday, 30th October 2017

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He Czech-mated closer to IM dream

17-year-old chess champ from steel city trains in Chennai

By Jayesh Thaker in Jamshedpur
  • Published 30.01.20, 12:12 AM
  • Updated 30.01.20, 12:12 AM
  • a min read
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Vatsal Singhania with his trophy (Picture sourced by The Telegraph)

Young chess champ Vatsal Singhania, with roots in Sakchi, has inched closer to the IM (International Master) title, thanks to his stellar show at an international chess contest in Czech Republic earlier this month.

The 17-year-old, arguably the best chess hand in Jharkhand today, earned his first IM norm after clinching the title at the Marienbad Open held in Czechoslovakia from January 18 to 25.

Vatsal needs to earn two more IM norms and must also have a 2,400-plus international rating to be eligible for an IM. His rating prior to the Marienbad event was 2,230. His rating shot up to 2,342 after the title in Czechoslovakia.

A player needs an international rating of 2,500 to become a Grandmaster (GM).

Vatsal, who was a student of Carmel Junior College in Sonari, decided to relocate to Chennai in 2017 to brighten his chess prospects under Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh. He is now a Class XI student of Velammal Vidyalaya in Chennai.

“We are very proud of Vatsal and hope he makes more progress in chess. He is hard working and it is our responsibility to support him,” Vatsal’s businessman father Anil Singhania said.

He told The Telegraph that Vatsal was still in Czechoslovakia. “He will fly to Budapest in Hungary soon to compete in another international competition. We hope he wins the title in Budapest,” Singhania added.

Vatsal won his maiden international title at the Commonwealth Chess Championship in New Delhi in 2017.

He also participated in the World Youth Chess Championship held in Montevideo, Uruguay, the same year.

The promising chess player has played four Open tournaments at Barcelona in Spain in 2017 besides finishing third (Under-18 section) in the Aerrflot Open International Tournament in Moscow, also in 2017.

He was adjudged the best junior player below international rating 2200 in Cannes, France, in 2018.

Vatsal, who idolises Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, has also claimed state Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 titles.