News
Nihal Sarin Wins Back-To-Back Tournaments, Enters World's Top 100
Nihal Sarin with the Serbia Chess Open Masters trophy. Photo: Nihal Sarin/Twitter.

Nihal Sarin Wins Back-To-Back Tournaments, Enters World's Top 100

PeterDoggers
| 21 | Chess Event Coverage

16-year-old GM Nihal Sarin has a fantastic month of chess behind him. The Indian prodigy won two strong tournaments in a row in Serbia and gained 35 Elo points, reaching a virtual rating of 2655.

How to watch?
The games of the Silver Lake Open can be found here and the ones from the Serbia Chess Open Masters here on our live events platform.


Now that the open tournaments are returning this summer, a lot of Indian chess players are traveling to Europe to play in these over-the-board events. One of them is Nihal, who managed to win two strong tournaments in a row!

See also IM Rakesh Kulkarni's video on Nihal's success.

Silver Lake Open

Nihal first took part in the Silver Lake Open, held June 23-30 at the Danubia Park Hotel in Veliko Gradiste, Serbia. It was a nine-round Swiss tournament with 131 players, including 15 grandmasters.

Nihal was the third-seeded player, behind two Armenian grandmasters: GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan and GM Manuel Petrosyan. He was also one of 11 Indian participants, among them the 21-year-old GM Abhimanyu Puranik and the 15-year-old GM Raunak Sadhwani. Both Nihal and Sadhwani are also participants in Chess.com's Junior Speed Chess Championship which is currently underway.

Nihal played a fantastic tournament as he scored seven wins and two draws, good for a 2807(!) performance rating and a 17.4 Elo gain. Let's first look at his game in the very first round, which he won nicely with sacrificial play:

Many young players have learned their attacks and their tactics, but Nihal is showing mature chess as well: the kind where you grind down grandmasters in endgames. With the following win in the final round, he finished a point ahead of the pack:


Silver Lake Open 2021 | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg TB1 TB2 Rp rtg+/-
1 3 GM Nihal, Sarin 2620 8,0 49,5 2807 17,4
2 6 GM Sadhwani, Raunak 2555 7,0 51,0 2660 12,5
3 4 GM Puranik, Abhimanyu 2589 7,0 48,5 2581 0,8
4 11 IM Makhnev, Denis 2480 7,0 44,5 2562 9,8
5 9 GM Sadikhov, Ulvi 2490 6,5 47,0 2516 4,5
6 1 GM Ter-Sahakyan, Samvel 2644 6,5 46,0 2559 -6,7
7 18 IM Agmanov, Zhandos 2404 6,5 46,0 2460 7,7
8 10 IM Kourkoulos-Arditis, Stamatis 2485 6,5 45,5 2508 3,7
9 14 IM Boskovic, Drasko 2451 6,5 45,5 2514 9,0
10 13 IM Raja, Harshit 2459 6,5 44,5 2508 7,2
11 7 GM Sedlak, Nikola 2519 6,5 44,0 2516 1,3
12 31 FM Vetokhin, Savva 2324 6,5 41,5 2470 35,8
13 8 GM Damljanovic, Branko 2501 6,5 39,0 2467 0,2
14 19 IM Radovanovic, Nikola 2395 6,0 48,0 2557 19,8
15 5 GM Perunovic, Milos 2567 6,0 45,0 2469 -7,5
16 22 IM Mullick, Raahil 2386 6,0 44,0 2445 15,8
17 34 FM Pasti, Aron 2318 6,0 39,5 2260 -10,0
18 76 WFM Balabayeva, Xeniya 2116 6,0 39,5 2390 127,2
19 102 xx Erdogmus, Yagiz Kaan 1955 6,0 39,0 2303 138,8
20 20 IM Megalios, Konstantinos 2390 5,5 46,0 2416 4,4

(Full final standings here.)

Serbia Chess Open Masters

The next tournament conveniently took place in Serbia as well, July 2-8 in the capital, Belgrade. The Serbia Chess Open Masters was both stronger and bigger than the first, with 289 participants and 50 grandmasters. This time, there were seven players higher rated than Nihal, including top seeds GM Vladimir Fedoseev, GM Yuriy Kuzubov, and GM Igor Kovalenko.

But he duly won again, with once again not a single loss.

This time, Nihal scored a 2786 performance rating and earned 17.6 rating points, to make a total of 35 points this month. He broke the world's top 100 in the live ratings:

Nihal Sarin Live ratings
Nihal Sarin, now the world number 88 in the live ratings. Image: 2700chess.

Nihal finished on 7.5/9 and half a point ahead of the rest after holding top seed Fedoseev to a draw in the final round. The day before, he had beaten Kovalenko:

Nihal Sarin Belgrade Chess Masters Open 2021
Nihal playing Kovalenko in Belgrade. Photo: official website.

Serbia Chess Open Masters 2021 | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 Rp rtg+/-
1 8 GM Nihal, Sarin 2620 7,5 0,0 46,5 40,25 6 2786 17,6
2 6 GM Petrosyan, Manuel 2632 7,0 0,0 49,5 41,00 5 2719 9,7
3 1 GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2696 7,0 0,0 49,5 39,50 6 2731 4,3
4 12 GM Shevchenko, Kirill 2605 7,0 0,0 47,5 39,25 5 2730 14,4
5 10 GM Bernadskiy, Vitaliy 2606 7,0 0,0 47,5 39,00 5 2636 3,9
6 45 GM Sadikhov, Ulvi 2490 7,0 0,0 45,0 34,25 6 2699 24,1
7 21 GM Erigaisi, Arjun 2567 7,0 0,0 44,5 37,00 6 2670 11,1
8 32 GM Iskandarov, Misratdin 2533 7,0 0,0 44,5 33,75 6 2679 17,2
9 30 GM Warmerdam, Max 2535 7,0 0,0 43,5 37,00 6 2648 12,5
10 64 IM Aditya, Mittal 2438 7,0 0,0 40,0 33,00 6 2626 21,2
11 29 GM Aleksandrov, Aleksej 2535 6,5 0,0 49,5 37,50 4 2653 14,8
12 4 GM Ter-Sahakyan, Samvel 2643 6,5 0,0 47,5 36,75 4 2644 1,0
13 13 GM Safarli, Eltaj 2604 6,5 0,0 46,0 34,50 4 2612 2,1
14 18 GM Asadli, Vugar 2574 6,5 0,0 45,5 34,25 5 2603 4,0
15 52 IM Nikitenko, Mihail 2472 6,5 0,0 45,5 33,25 4 2673 24,5
16 47 IM Kourkoulos-Arditis, Stamatis 2485 6,5 0,0 44,5 33,00 6 2622 16,5
17 49 IM Makhnev, Denis 2480 6,5 0,0 44,0 33,50 5 2620 17,0
18 109 FM Damjanovic, Vuk 2369 6,5 0,0 43,5 30,25 6 2487 25,6
19 15 GM Puranik, Abhimanyu 2589 6,5 0,0 42,5 33,50 5 2551 -2,6
20 7 GM Pichot, Alan 2630 6,5 0,0 42,5 29,75 6 2554 -6,2

(Full final standings here.)

With such rapid progress, Nihal seems destined to become the next Indian 2700 grandmaster. You can see him in action on Saturday, Saturday, July 10 at 11 a.m. Pacific / 20:00 Central Europe here on Chess.com, when he will play his round of 16 match of the Junior Speed Chess Championship against GM Nicolas Checa.

More from PeterDoggers
Nepomniachtchi, Caruana Pick Up Wins In Spectacular 6th Round

Nepomniachtchi, Caruana Pick Up Wins In Spectacular 6th Round

Nepomniachtchi Dodges Bullet, Maintains Lead In Madrid

Nepomniachtchi Dodges Bullet, Maintains Lead In Madrid