Raunak Sadhwani becomes Maharashtra's youngest IM

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12-year old Raunak Sadhwani creates history by becoming youngest IM from Maharashtra

What's the story?

There is one thing that has cast a reassuring spell in the light of recent events. India is budding with talent that is springing mostly from the adolescent lot which indicates the bright possibilities of the future.

12-year-old chess prodigy Raunak Sadhwani is one such symbol of pride and hope. Having completed all the three required norms of becoming Nagpur's second and Maharashtra’s youngest International Master (IM) in April, the 12-year-old chess master collected the required rating points in Romania on Sunday to crown himself as IM.

In case you didn't know...

To become an IM, a player is required to clear three norms and maintain an international rating of 2400 Elo points. Raunak achieved his first IM norm at the age of 11 years and 7 months at the Pardubice Open 2017. Some six months later he achieved his second IM norm at the Gibraltar Masters 2018. He secured his final norm at the Sharjah Masters in April 2018. Within a short span of nine months, the talented Raunak completed all his IM norms.

The remarkable thing is Nagpur gave rise to it's first IM Anup Deshmukh, way back in 1999. Some 19 odd years later, the 2005-born Raunak, emerges to carry on the legacy of the state of Maharashtra that breeds and breathes chess.

The heart of the matter

Recognizing Raunak's natural talent for chess, his parents, Bharat and Heena Sadhwani, decided to send him for international tournaments during the summer vacations to hopefully gather the requisite Elo points.

Raunak's journey started with the nine-round 7 Open International LLucmajor in Spain from May 13-20 and it was followed by a four-day Felix Cup in Romania between May 25 and 28.

Showing his raw talent for the game, Raunak managed to baffle a couple of Grand Masters and higher-rated players in Spain to collect 13.2 rating points. By the fifth round in Romania, the city youngster had touched the required 2400 Elo mark to stake his claim of becoming an IM.

Competing in Romania now, Raunak is still unbeaten and on his way he has played out a draw with Serbian GM Drazic Sinisa and higher-rated Omelja Artem from Ukraine to collect the remaining 8.8 rating points.

What's next?

Although the talented Raunak with an assuredly razor-sharp brain is yet to receive confirmation and a certificate crowning him as the IM, he sure is elated beyond bounds. The confirmation will come after the two rounds that remain to be played after which he will be awarded the certificate.

With the kind of success he is landing himself in, soon it wouldn't be a matter of surprise if we see him becoming a Grand Master in the next couple of years!

Author's take

It's incredibly wonderful to witness the spurt of so many young talents across the nation, all focussed on bring fame and glory to the nation and themselves, in that turn. The fact that these pre-teenagers and teenagers are coming into the limelight across various sports, be it chess, shooting or even badminton, is indeed a matter of pride for the nation.

Without the firm support of family it becomes really difficult to nurture talent from such tender ages and it's a welcome sight to see Indian parents giving talent in sports a chance and letting their children climb their way to glory just like Raunak, all of 12, just did by becoming the youngest International Master in the history of Maharashtra.

Edited by Amit Mishra
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