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At Just 12, Maharashtra’s Youngest International Master is Making India Proud!

Raunak is the youngest IM from Maharashtra and the second IM from Nagpur. The first IM from Nagpur is Anup Deshmukh, who secured the title in 1999.

He is a brilliant strategist, an able analyst and now, a chess prodigy!

Raunak Sadhwani, a resident of Nagpur, has recently secured the title of an International Master (IM)! You’d think that this powerhouse of talent has had several years of training, practice and experience in championships, but Raunak is only a 12-year-old boy!

Raunak is the youngest IM from Maharashtra and the second IM from Nagpur. The first IM from Nagpur is Anup Deshmukh, who secured the title in 1999.

But what is IM and how did Raunak secure this title?

An IM title requires a player to clear three norms—high-level performance in a chess tournament—and to maintain an international rating of ‘Elo’ points.

Securing the IM title is no easy task. Credits: Raunak Sadhwani.

Elo, named after its creator Arpad Elo is a method to calculate the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games.

Raunak started his journey to clear these requirements at the age of 11 years and 7 months. During the Felix Cup tournament held in Romania from May 25-28 2018, he completed all three requisite norms to become an International Master.

Speaking to the Times of India about this fantastic achievement, Raunak said, “I am glad about my success. This IM title has given me a lot of self-belief and confidence.

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But I don’t want to stop here, and will work harder now as my next aim is to become Grand Master soon and represent India in prestigious International events.”

Credits: Raunak Sadhwani.

Raunak is trained by two Grandmasters, Swapnil Dhopade and Amonatov Farrukh. Dhopade, incidentally, is the only Grandmaster from the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra. Speaking to TOI, he said, “Raunak came to me when he was 10. I realised that he is extremely talented and hardworking and has a bright future. To become an IM at such a young age is an amazing achievement. He worked really hard for this.”


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Balancing school and his training to maintain an international rating must undoubtedly be quite a challenge for Raunak. Elaborating on the support that Raunak receives from his parents, Bharat and Heena Sadhwani, Dhopade said, “A huge credit to his parents who always remained hopeful of his future. Parental support is the most important thing for [a] sportsman, and Raunak’s parents have always been there for him. I feel he will achieve greater things in life. The next step is the Grand Master title.”

Based on the way Raunak’s career is shaping up, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that he will definitely achieve the GM title. Young talents like Raunak have consistently made India proud, and we hope that his incredible success in a relatively short span of time will help the young prodigy soar higher.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Featured image source: Raunak Sadhwani.

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