The Top Chess Players in the World
The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Nihal Sarin

Nihal Sarin
Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Full name
Nihal Sarin
Born
Jul 13, 2004 (age 19)‎
Place of birth
Thrissur, Kerala, India
Federation
India

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Bio

GM Nihal Sarin is an Indian chess prodigy who became a grandmaster at the age of 14. He won several youth championships on his way, including the the U-10 World Blitz Championship in 2013 and the U-10 World Youth Chess Championship in 2014, where he scored 9/11. He was also the world under-18 champion, held online in 2020.

The name Sarin is a patronymic, and the player should be referred to by the given name, Nihal.

Two-Time Champion

In 2020, Nihal had impressive results. In addition to the U-18 World Youth Championship, he won Chess.com's Junior Speed Chess Championship and the gold medal as part of the Indian team in the FIDE Chess Olympics held online.

Nihal, along with GMs Gukesh D, Praggnanandhaa R, and Arjun Erigaisi, is one of several young Indian stars who began making noise in the international scene around 2022. Of the four, Nihal has had the most success in Chess.com events, being a two-time Junior Speed Chess Champion (2020, 2021) and a finalist in the 2022 Chess.com Global Championship (CGC). He defeated GM Alexey Sarana in the final of the 2020 JSCC and GM Raunak Sadhwani, another young Indian superstar, in the 2021 final.

Nihal Sarin
Nihal won the 2020 JSCC final rather convincingly. He repeated in 2021 with a seven-point winning margin.

Chess.com Global Championship

Nihal's path through the CGC included two world champions (past and future) and two more members of the 2700 rating club: GMs Rauf Mamedov, Vladimir Kramnik, Ding Liren, Sam Sevian, and Anish Giri. Only GM Wesley So could stop Nihal, which happened in the final. Nihal earned $100,000 as the event runner-up.

Nihal Sarin
Nihal at the 2022 CGC. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nihal was also a bronze medalist at the 2022 FIDE Chess Olympiad, scoring 7.5/10 in his individual games for a performance rating of 2774. He played the second board for India's second team, which actually outperformed their fourth-place lead team. (India hosted the event and thus was granted three teams.) The year 2022 also brought him a victory at the Tata Steel India Rapid tournament, although his two-year streak as JSCC champion was ended in the final by Arjun.

2023 and Beyond

Nihal holds a FIDE rating of 2692 as of November 2023, good for 44th in the world. As he continues to develop as a player it will be interesting to see what heights he can reach.

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