Published On : Mon, Jun 19th, 2017

Nagpur’s youngest Fide Master Raunak Sadhwani breaks GM jinx, upsets Armenia;s Harutjunyan in Russia

 Raunak Sadhwani

Raunak Sadhwani (File Pic)

For the first time since he started playing on the 64 black and white chequered boxes, youngest city Fide Master (FM) Raunak Sadhwani posted his biggest victory on Monday. In the sixth round of the Master Open being played as a part of Voronezh Chess Festival in Russia, the 11-year-old surprised seasoned Grandmaster (GM) from Armenia.

With this upset win over the 35-year-old experienced GM Gevorg Harutjunyan on the 30th board, Raunak collected a full point and is well in contention of the nine-round meet with 3.5 points and three rounds remaining.

The nine-day standard format of the international chess tournament that attracted 137 players from across the globe, include masters from hosts Russia, Armenia, Belarus, India, Sweden, Ukraine and Vietnam. Of the 137 participants as many as 101 title holders — 29 GMs, 27 International Masters (IM) 44 FMs and four Chess Masters — are vying for the honours.


Having held many higher rated GMs since he first made a move in 2013 a victory against the top most title holder in chess had eluded city’s youngest FM. For his third victory in as many days, Raunak made most of his opening advantage with the white pieces. Though he started with the regular Kings Pawn opening move, Raunak kept on making attacking moves and also handled his time pressure well against the Carokann defense opted by Harutjunyan. Raunak’s aggressive approach with accurate moves took the Armenian GM by surprise and he was forced to resign in the 35th move.

Giving more details of the game that brought city’s FM in the limelight at Voronezh, Raunak through his mother Heena Sadhwani said, “Playing with the white pieces, I started with the regular e4 move while he opted for the Carokann defensive opening. By the mid-game I was under time pressure but kept on attacking his King. He was waiting for me to commit a mistake but my attacking strategy paid dividends and soon Harutjunyan became a bit defensive. He wanted to share the points and offered a draw too but I didn’t gave him any chance and finally in the 35th move he resigned.”

On his first major victory over any GM, Raunak added, “I am very much happy to beat first ever Grandmaster in my career. Earlier I played out many draws with them but this victory is a morale booster and I look forward to win many more games.”

On Tuesday in the 7th round, Raunak will defend with the black bits against Russian GM Burmakin Vladimir on the 22nd board.