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Goa GM 2018 Round 2+3: 6-year-old prodigy and a 12-year-old veteran!

by Sagar Shah - 15/10/2018

Age is quite a relative concept! When a 12-year-old beats a GM you have be in awe of the achievement. But when on the same day you meet a 6-year-old who shows his skills on the board, the 12-year-old suddenly starts looking like a veteran. On the second day of the Goa GM International 2018, we met two young personalities who made it a day to remember! 6-year-old Nivaan Kandhadia and 12-year-old Pranav Venkatesh. In this article we speak about the achievements as well as the playing level of these two youngsters and at the same time we also treat you to some excellent pictures by Amruta Mokal and Niklesh Jain!

The six-year-old prodigy!

What is the right age to start playing chess, people ask. I used to say when your child is around six years old! I know that there are some prodigies who do it when they are five or even four. But what I saw today was pretty mind boggling. Meet Nivaan Kandhadhia - 6-year-old boy from Pune who was playing his 25th straight game at the Goa international 2018 after playing 20 rounds in Gujarat! 

The six-year-old who has everyone enthralled by his talent - Nivaan Khandhadia | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Interview with Nivaan where he shows one of his interesting games from the Goa GM international 2018

The thing which struck me about Nivaan is that he is not just a prodigy, but he is a chess lover. He is given a good dose of chess history (how else would you know the names of all the world champions!) and I am sure he will be shown a lot of classics in the time to come. This will ensure that the boy loves the game of chess. It has been observed that the kids who build their foundation on the basis on games of players like Capablanca, Alekhine and these greats stay in love with the game for much longer than those who are just given tactics and positional problems to solve.

The youngest boy I have ever interviewed! Look at how the audience are keenly following every word that he says! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nivaan hails from Pune and studies in grade one. A few months ago ChessBase India covered this prodigy with an article published on our newspage. We wish Nivaan, his parents, and his coach Vishwanath Shandilya, the best in their future chess journey. A long road ahead awaits them, but as long as you enjoy the journey, who cares about the destination!

The Khandhadia family - Nivaan with his parents | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The 12-year-old veteran!

I call Pranav the 12-year-old veteran, because he has beaten many strong players now. The youngster from Chennai just turned 12 years old a couple of days ago. But it was already two years ago that he had beaten GM Salem Saleh - a 2650+ GM! Pranav and his parents have completely dedicated themselves to the game of chess travelling from one tournament to the other! So much is their focus on the game that Pranav hardly goes to school. The Velammal Institution supports him to be best of their ability. The boy spends almost all of his time try to get better at the game. At the Gujarat International 2018 he missed his IM norm by half a point. "I was clearly winning my game against Arjun Kalyan in Gujarat", says Pranav. "That game ended in a draw and I missed my IM norm by half a point. So in this tournament I have decided to be more focused!" Wise words indeed from the 12-year-old youngster!

The creative genius from Chennai - 12-year-old Pranav | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Pranav discusses his win over GM Karthik Venkatraman

Rank after round 3 (all players on 3.0/3)

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 Krtg+/-
GMPopov IvanRUS2611RUS3,00,04,06,06,003103,3
GMIdani PouyaIRI2588IRI3,00,04,06,06,003103,6
GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND2540ICF3,00,04,06,06,003103,3
IMStany G.A.IND2502AAI3,00,04,06,06,003103,7
GMKravtsiv MartynUKR2654UKR3,00,04,05,55,503103,3
GMMalakhatko VadimBEL2552BEL3,00,04,05,55,503103,8
GMNeverov ValeriyUKR2488UKR3,00,04,05,55,503103,9
GMAmonatov FarrukhTJK2615TJK3,00,04,05,05,003103,6
GMHimanshu SharmaIND2444RLYS3,00,04,05,05,003104,2
IMDas SayantanIND2425WB3,00,04,05,05,003104,3
Venkata Ramana JIND2086TEL3,00,04,04,54,5032036,6
GMRahman ZiaurBAN2473BAN3,00,03,55,05,003104,0
GMLaxman R.R.IND2443ICF3,00,03,55,05,003104,1
IMRakesh Kumar JenaIND2388ODI3,00,03,55,05,003103,4
GMKasparov SergeyBLR2453BLR3,00,03,54,54,503104,2
GMSivuk VitalyUKR2545UKR3,00,03,54,04,003103,4
GMTer-Sahakyan SamvelARM2547ARM3,00,03,04,04,003103,6
FMDeshpande AniruddhaIND2213MAH3,00,03,03,53,5032018,8
GMAnurag MhamalIND2495GOA3,00,03,03,03,003103,8
Pranav VIND2263TN3,00,03,03,03,0032020,0

Complete standings


In the B-group with three games being played each day, we have two leaders Vijay Kumar and Shubham who are on 100% score with 6.0/6. They are followed by four players on 5.5/6. With three more rounds to be played on 15th of October and the last round on 16th, this promises to be an exciting event!

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 Krtg+/-
Vijay KumarIND1915HP6,00,021,524,024,0062031,0
Raghavendra V.IND1900KAR5,50,022,024,521,7552020,0
Kadav OmkarIND1859MAH5,50,019,522,520,5052026,0
Niranjan MocharlaIND1805AP5,50,019,521,518,7552031,0
Katiyar PrashantIND1800UP5,50,019,021,520,0052031,2
Awadh ChaitanyaIND1888MP5,00,023,026,020,0052013,4
Karthik Gopal GIND1810AP5,00,023,026,020,0052031,0
Dhanush RagavU15IND1864TN5,00,022,024,520,0044021,2
Gokulraj KIND1810TN5,00,021,524,518,5054030,4
AGMShubham ShuklaIND1883PUN5,00,020,524,019,754208,0
Rishabh NishadIND1874UP5,00,020,521,016,005208,8
Anwar N KIND1764KER5,00,020,023,019,0052017,8
Nayak SanjeebanIND1821ODI5,00,020,023,018,2542020,4
Gavi SiddayyaIND1927KAR5,00,019,522,018,004205,2
Sahil DhawanIND1740HAR5,00,019,522,017,0052030,6
Lakshmi Krishna Bhushan DIND1982AP5,00,019,520,516,25420-4,2
Srikanth K.IND1934AF5,00,019,022,018,004201,2
Patil JitendraIND1855MAH5,00,019,021,517,504207,4
Shyam Sundar T.IND1714TN5,00,019,020,015,7542027,6

Photo gallery by Amruta Mokal and Niklesh Jain

The style of Deepan can never be emulated! He is on 3.0/3 after beating Anup Deshmukh in the third round. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

A caring father! Jimmy Joseph gets his son Jubin Jimmy ready for his game against GM Samvel Ter Sahakyan. The game didn't end well for the youngster. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sergey Kasparov is feeling the heat in Indian events - literally! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A smart move! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Laxman managed to play a strong game and beat Swati Ghate in the third round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aditya Mittal is a fighter. After he fell down at the under-13 nationals a few months ago in Ahmedabad, he has to take the support of a wheel chair for moving around, but that has not stopped him from coming to the Goa International tournament and giving his best. He is on 2.0/3. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In exactly two months from now Angela Franco from Colombia will get married to Niklesh Jain! It is very interesting that the flags of India and Colombia are next to each other. Was this planned or just a lucky co-incidence? | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Anwesh Upadhyay went to Ukraine a few years ago and is now back as a doctor. He beat Ganesh R. in the third round and is now on 2.5/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Bangladesh battle between Ziaur Rahman and Shakil Abu Sufian was won by the experienced GM | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Pride of Goa, Bhakti Kulkarni lost her third round to Soham Datar and is now on 1.5/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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