Nihal Sarin – The Young Devil from Thrissur

Chess is becoming younger day by day. There are prodigies all around the world trying to make their presence felt. With India in a chess boom, it did produce a lot of prodigies pre-Covid. With the likes of Praggnanandha R, Gukesh D, Raunak Sadhwani, Divya Deshmukh, Vaishali R, and many more, there is a kid from Thrissur – GrandMaster Nihal Sarin a.k.a young devil!

Today I am going to increase your knowledge about GM Nihal Sarin. I present you some general information about his life than the chess part where I will present to you my favorite games of GM Nihal Sarin followed by some achievements.

Table of Contents

General Life Information

Nihal was born on 13 July 2004 in Thrissur in the Indian state of Kerala. Nihal learned chess at the age of six. In order to not make him feel bored during school vacations, his father introduced Nihal to a chess set, and his grandfather A. A. Ummar taught him the rules at Kottayam where he was a student of Excelsior English School.

Nihal is managed by Priyadarshan Banjan and is coached by GM Narayanan Srinath. Narayan Srianth is famously known as the Vice-Captain of the Indian chess team. . Narayanan Srianth has created a famous lifetime repertoire in Catalan. Check it out here.

Nihal Sarin got India’s 2nd highest sponsorship deal with Akshaykalpa Milk! This comes after the deal between Indian Numero and 5 times former world champion Vishwanathan Anand and NIIT. Akshayakalpa was registered on October 2, 2010.

The Genesis of Akshayakalpa dates to the years 2001 to 2009, when the Yuva Chetna program was led by Dr. G.N.S. Reddy. Akshayakalpa was born as a farmer entrepreneurship initiative.

Akshayakalpa owns a 40,000 Litre/day capacity Organic Milk Processing Plant where milk collected from the farmers working with Akshayakalpa is packed and processed.

It feels good when some strong sponsorers back talents like Nihal. This is one of the important aspects of Indian sports which I feel is still lacking. Once the sports players are ensured that their expenses are taken care of then they can play freely.

I personally feel that this is going to be a start of a lot of players signing contracts in the coming 5 years!

Facts about Nihal Sarin

Date of Birth 13 July 2004
Fide ID25092340
Nihal Sarin Net WorthNot Known
Nihal Sarin CoachSrinath Narayanan
StateKerala, India

Career Graph

Nihal Sarin

Above is the graph of Nihal Sarin. You can see he did have ups and downs but once he was on a roll he turned to become an IM followed by a GM real soon!

He just rushed through those milestones. He has consistency in his game and it is reflected in his progress.

Nihal sarin started his rating with 1268 in July 2011. He kept on progressing steadily and in 3 years he was above 2100.  Then he had some ups and downs from 2014-2016. A dip that every player faces. Did Nihal start doubting his talent? NO!

He came back strongly and reached a rating of 2351 in March 2016. From here on he started to show consistency. He took another year to fulfill all the criteria for the International Master title.

Since then day in and day out, he has shown that he is a force to reckon with. He is tricky and drops down in time just to lure his opponents into making mistakes. And then he shows who the real boss is.

After reaching a certain level, it is always difficult to become stronger. Let’s see how Nihal does that.

Nihal Sarin Interview

Nihal Sarin Father’s Advice to all Chess Parents

Best Games of Nihal Sarin

Here are some best games of Nihal Sarin according me. Whenever I study Nihal’s games, one thing is his deep knowledge of the openings. He always opts for standard openings and has long lines in the store.

He also plays almost all the openings and does bring exciting chess over the board. Nihal tends to play positional chess but is never shy to show how fierce he can attack!

You can see these games and for those who are not able to see the games, I am also attaching the notations for the games at the end of the article.

Nihal the Blitz and Bullet Monster

Nihal is always seen playing blitz, bullet, hyper bullet, etc. And he not only plays it but also dominates his opponents. He keeps on winning tournaments after tournaments.

Nihal is known for his supreme resourcefulness and tricks when both players drop down to a few seconds. His knowledge of tricks in endgames helps him convert many draws into wins and many lost positions in draws.

GM Anish Giri who is one of the elite players has mentioned a lot of times that Nihal has a good understanding of the game. He knows when to take a pause and sink into deep thought.


  • International Master Title – 2017.
  • Grand Master Title – 2018.
  • Nihal won the World Online Youth Championships 2020 in the Under-18 category by defeating GM Shant Sargsyan from Armenia with a final score of 1.5: 0.5.
  • Nihal made his debut at the Isbank Turkish Super League in July 2018, leading the team Genc Akademisyenler on the first board. He scored 6.0/12 against an opposition made up of an average rating of 2590.
  • In the 2019 TePe Sigeman & Co. Masters tournament held in Malmo, Sweden, Nihal scored a solid 3.0/7 and finished 6th place to cross the 2600 Elo mark in rating.
  • Prize for his game against IM Francesco Sonis.
  • In June 2021, he won the Silver Lake international chess festival

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