India's Nihal Sarin wins Junior Speed Chess Championship

Grandmaster Nihal Sarin during his first-round matches at Tata Steel Chess India 2018. Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Nihal Sarin emerged winner in the Chess.com's 2020 Junior Speed Online Chess Championship after beating Russia's world junior No. 6 Alexey Sarana 18-7 in the final.

The title win earned the 16-year old Sarin USD 8,766 and enabled him to qualify for the 2020 Speed Chess Championship Final, which will feature the world's best players.

Sarin had beaten American Andrew Tang, Australia's Anton Smirnov and Armenian Haik Martirosyan en route the title.

Past winners of the Speed Chess Championship include Magnus Carlsen (2017) and Hikaru Nakamura (2018, 2019).

The Indian teenager had lost in the first round of the 2019 Junior Speed Chess event.

Sarin crossed 2600 Elo in the live rating list last year, becoming the youngest-ever Indian and second-youngest in history to do so at the age of 14 years and 10 months.

Sarin had gone past the previous Indian record held by Parimarjan Negi, who touched 2600 Elo at 15 years and 11 months, by a year. The youngest player in history to cross 2600 is Wei Yi at 14 years, 4 months and 30 days.

Introduced to chess by his grandfather when he was seven to rein in his restless, boyish energy, Nihal went on to win the Asian U-10 rapid and blitz titles. He also took home the World U-10 blitz title and was crowned U-10 Classical World champion in September 2014. He turned International Master at 12 years and 8 months, the same age at which Carlsen also achieved the feat, becoming the third-youngest in the world then to do so.

In August 2018, Sarin turned Grandmaster after winning his third norm at the Abu Dhabi Masters with 5.5 points from nine matches with a round to spare.

According to a press release, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand praised Sarin, saying, "Nihal is one of the world's fastest juniors, and this result confirms it." Sarin, a former world Under-10 champion, will join the Indian men's team that is taking part in the Asian Online Nations (Regions) Cup Team Championship, which began Saturday, next.