Nivaan Khandhadia from SMCA Singapore has created a flutter in the chess circle by winning gold medal in U-7 category of the 36th NAG Singapore Open National championship at the break on New Year dawn.
The seven-year-old Nivaan scored 7.5 out of a total eight points in the tournament that concluded at the Singapore Expo on the last day of 2019. The Global Indian International School student was challenged by a total pool of 96 players in the U-7 category while the whole tournament involved 663 players from different parts of the world.
Nivaan’s show was outstanding as he didn’t lose a single round in the four-day affair and maintained the top spot on the leaderboard from the start to finish.
This tournament win fetched Nivaan his 51st Individual trophy in addition to 22 medals he won in different tourneys throughout the world. By the age of seven, the kid has completed his 81st tournament and 627th tournament games.
SMCA chief coach FM Balaji Guttula was ecstatic after Nivaan’s win on the threshold of 2020. “Nivaan is a highly talented child, no child of his age has the consistency of winning back to back tournaments. Nivaan has been raising the performance bar ever since he’s 5-year-old from being the youngest rated chess player to one of the best junior chess players in the world. Nivaan has improved in every version of the game. He has a great future,” SMCA chief coach said.
However, Nivaan’s coach in Singapore, Sandiilya Vishwanth, feels the seven-year-old boy’s strength lies in his strong opening preparation as he takes advantage in each game from the onset…his ability to calculate complicated positions is also good, according to him.
“Nivaan is one of the best junior players in Singapore. We have set a target of reaching around 1600 in elo ratings by 2020-end and also win the U-8 World Youth Championship,” Vishwanath said.
Although, Nivaan’s father Rathin credited the success to SMCA coach Vishwansth Sandilya for his guidance. “This is one of the best cleanest tournaments he has played ever… He remained undefeated throughout maintaining his table 1 position. He is working hard and I am sure he will carry on the good work in future too,” an elated father said.