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Raunak Sadhwani scores his maiden GM norm at the Aeroflot Open 2019

by Sagar Shah - 27/02/2019

Raunak Sadhwani scored his maiden GM norm at the Aeroflot Open 2019. The youngster from Nagpur scored 5.0/8 against all opponents rated above 2570. Raunak is just 13 years old and he shot into international prominence when he very nearly beat Vishy Anand in round one of the Isle of Man event 2018. Since then Raunak has moved from strength to strength. He missed his GM norms at the Sunway Chess Festival and Gibraltar Masters, but he finally achieved it at the Aeroflot Open 2019 with one round to spare. In this article we acquaint you with further with this young talent and show you two of his impressive games - the first one was the loss against Anand which the boy has annotated himself and the second one is his win against Srinath Narayanan annotated by IM Sagar Shah. 

The boy who almost beat Vishy Anand scores his maiden GM norm

Raunak Sadhwani, born in December 2005, is just 13 years and 3 months old. But at the Aeroflot Open 2019 he has already scored his maiden GM norm. It was an extremely solid performance as Raunak remained unbeaten against some very strong GMs.

Raunak's performance at the Aeroflot Open 2019

Raunak is now well known in the chess world as the boy who almost beat Vishy Anand in round 1 of the Isle of Man International 2018. Well, if you are curious to see the game, here's the entire battle against Anand annotated by Raunak himself. Take a note of Raunak's comments and some mind boggling variations.

Anand speaks about the game against Raunak

Anand mentioned a couple of times in the video that Raunak is rated much below than what his level is. And the Indian legend's words did come true as Raunak kept showcasing one powerful performance after another. In fact he missed his GM norm by a whisker at both Sunway Sitges and Gibraltar Masters 2019. Well, at the Aeroflot Open 2019 he more than made up for his misses as he achieved his GM norm with one round to spare. To hold you own and score +1 against all the GMs rated above 2570 is no mean task. Out of the eight rounds that he has played Raunak has one victory and seven draws. His win came against GM Srinath Narayanan which we have annotated here:

Raunak's father Bharat Sadhwani (right) receiving the Shiv Chhatrapati award on his son's behalf. Raunak couldn't attend the ceremony, because he was busy making his GM norm!

Raunak is trained by GM Swapnil Dhopade (left)

While Raunak's play was extremely solid and that helped him to get his maiden GM norm, we cannot help but point out two games where he agreed to very quick draws with the white pieces.

Tournament situation often dictates the decisions you make. Raunak badly wanted to achieve his GM norm, and these draws did help him move closer to the norm. However, with all his tactical ability and talent, it goes without saying that he must fight harder in the next events that he plays. This GM norm is sure to boost his confidence in the right direction.


Check out more about this phenomenal talent in the video where I show Raunak's game against Anand and also his win against GM Alexander Fier (a great game worth watching!)

Overview of Indian performances in A group of Aeroflot 2019

11GMSasikiran Krishnan2678IND11111½0½6,02Open A
14GMSethuraman S.P.2651IND½10½½½½03,569Open A
18GMGanguly Surya Shekhar2636IND1½½½½0½14,535Open A
38GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2601IND11000½114,533Open A
42GMNarayanan.S.L2593IND11½½010½4,529Open A
45GMNihal Sarin2578IND110½½01½4,527Open A
47GMVaibhav Suri2575IND0½11½1½½5,017Open A
49GMNarayanan Srinath2572IND½001½0½002,598Open A
55GMKarthikeyan Murali2560IND½011½0½14,526Open A
57GMLalith Babu M R2556IND00½1½½½14,059Open A
63GMAryan Chopra2540IND½½½½01½03,561Open A
65GMPuranik Abhimanyu2538IND½01½½1003,562Open A
67GMDebashis Das2532IND½1½½½00½3,563Open A
68GMPraggnanandhaa R2532IND010½1½014,054Open A
71GMVishnu Prasanna. V2524IND00½½½½½13,580Open A
74IMGukesh D2508IND001½0½½½3,089Open A
78GMGagare Shardul2495IND00½1½½½½3,567Open A
79GMKarthik Venkataraman2494IND0½0011½03,085Open A
84IMIniyan P2480IND½½0½½½1½4,050Open A
87GMHarika Dronavalli2471IND1½00½½½½3,566Open A
88IMPrithu Gupta2470IND0½0½1½½½3,572Open A
91CMAditya Mittal2454IND½010½0103,086Open A
93IMSadhwani Raunak2448IND½1½½½½½½4,543Open A
94IMArjun Kalyan2444IND½½0½00½½2,591Open A
95IMRaja Rithvik R2443IND001½½½½½3,577Open A

Standings after round 8

Rk.SNoNameTypFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2 
162GMKulaots KaidoEST25426,052651
211GMSasikiran KrishnanIND26786,042594
328GMMartirosyan Haik M.ARM26166,032557
443GMTabatabaei M.AminU18IRI25905,542600
53GMWang HaoCHN27145,542597
641GMPetrosian Tigran L.ARM25955,542594
721GMSarana AlexeyRUS26305,542566
825GMKhismatullin DenisRUS26215,542524
930GMChigaev MaksimRUS26135,532579
1035GMDeac Bogdan-DanielU18ROU26035,042651
1132GMLupulescu ConstantinROU26105,042636
1252GMPetrosyan ManuelARM25645,042614
131GMWei YiCHN27335,042591
1429GMZhou JianchaoCHN26155,042587
159GMKorobov AntonUKR26875,042580
167GMInarkiev ErnestoRUS26925,042579
1747GMVaibhav SuriIND25755,042563
1812GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI26665,042559
1915GMAnton Guijarro DavidESP26425,042556
2013GMSjugirov SananRUS26635,042554

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