Manish Anto Cristiano from Tamil Nadu becomes the latest IM of India
Tamil Nadu is the strongest state in the country as it has the maximum number of Grandmasters and International Masters. 15-year-old Manish Anto Cristiano F is the latest IM of India. He completed his final IM-norm last month at Budapest, Hungary in Vezerkepzo GM June 2021. He earned his first IM-norm at Riga Technical University Open 2019, crossed 2400 in live ratings the following month. The boy scored his second IM-norm in First Saturday GM February 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the inevitable. Did you know that Manish traveled and played tournaments from 13 to 15 years of age all alone by himself?
The boy who traveled the world alone
FM Manish Anto Cristiano became the latest International Master of India on 22nd June as he scored his final IM-norm in the eighth round of Vezerkepzo GM June 2021. This year in May, he braved the pandemic and went to play in Budapest, Hungary to fulfill his IM title requirements. He took a couple of tournaments to get himself in form. In third event, he scored his final IM-norm and became the latest IM of India within two years after making his first IM-norm.
Manish on becoming an IM, “I am happy to become an IM. It is a long journey and miles to go. I am looking forward to become a GM. Celebration is only for one day, and then I am focusing on the other challenging tasks to be carried out”.
Manish scored his first IM-norm at Riga Technical University Open 2019. He scored 6.0/9, performed at 2486 and gained 102.4 Elo rating points. He was rated 2272 then.
In the final round, he drew with French GM Christian Bauer.
Before Manish made his IM-norm, he delivered an IM-norm worthy performance at Bangkok Chess Club Open 2018. He missed out on getting a norm because he did not face enough GM/IMs in the event.
Manish won team Gold in Asian Youth Rapid 2019 in Sri Lanka.
Live rating 2400
Five months after winning the Gold, Manish touched 2400 in the live ratings in 7th Capablanca Memorial - Anogia GM-norm tournament. Although he did not play well there but he fulfilled one of the criterion in his quest to become an International Master.
The game that got him to cross 2400 in the live ratings was the first round win over compatriot FM Dushyant Sharma.
Manish - Dushyant, Round 1
Find out the winning continuation for White in the above diagram.
FM Manish made his second IM-norm at First Saturday GM February 2020. He was having a 50% score 4.0/8, heading into the final round of the tournament, paired against WIM Divya Deshmukh.
Divya - Manish, Round 9
In a seemingly equal endgame, White made the mistake of playing 50.bxa4. Instead, 50.Qe3+ or Qc5 would have been better. Black obviously played 50...Qxa4+ and won the game by showcasing correct technique.
Manish earned his final IM-norm with a round to spare at Vezerkepzo GM June 2021. He scored 5.5/9 with a performance of 2486.
In the first round, Manish won against one of the newly minted IM, Souhardo Basak with a beautiful checkmate combination.
Souhardo - Manish, Round 1
In a relatively equal position, White blundered 42.Nc5. Find out the winning combination for Black. With this win, Manish Anto Cristiano became the latest IM of India.
He is very good in analysing positions well and quickly. Also, very confident about himself and sometimes it can lead to mistakes done hastily without checking the details. He is also a good student and has his priorities there. The pressure to become an IM affected his performance in many tournaments. And then came the COVID lockdown. Happy to see he has got it finally.
Manish's father, Dr. Francis Xavier has shared some very interesting facts about him. One of them is, Manish always plays in higher age group category in Asian and World Youth events.
• Asian Youth Chess Championship 2018, Thailand – Under 18 at the age of 12
• Western Asian Chess Championship 2018, Uzbekistan – Under 18 at the age of 12
• Asian Youth Chess Championship 2019, Sri Lanka – Under 18 at the age of 13
• World Youth Chess Championship 2019, Mumbai, India – Under 18 at the age of 13
While making all these three IM-norms and crossing 2400 rating, he was living all alone in hotels in different part of the globe without the support of anyone between the age of 13 and 15. He had to live all alone, managing his food and at the same time focusing on chess. Only a handful of teenagers has probably done it before. Some kind-hearted parents of India offered homemade food for him during these tough times. Manish and his parents are ever thankful to those kind-hearted Indian parents for their support during the need of the hour.
Last but certainly not the least, check out what Anish tweeted about the young boy's feat
Replay Manish's games