CHENNAI: Sethuraman Panaiappan Sethuraman has an interesting record now under his belt. The 17-year-old Chennai lad is currently the youngest grandmaster in India, having pipped Parimarjan Negi of New Delhi by 16 days.
On Wednesday night, Sethuraman won the 26th Voivoda’s Cup international chess tournament at Legnica in Poland and in the process secured his GM title to set the record. Though there were three others who had achieved the same feat at a much younger age, currently Sethuraman can claim that he is the youngest GM in India, though he is not the youngest to get there as Koneru Humpy, Pentala Harikrishna (both AP) and Negi had made the mark before they turned 16.
It was just four months ago that Sethuraman’s friend and citymate B Adhiban set a new mark for the youngest GM from Tamil Nadu, catching up with the 23-year-old record that stood in the name of Viswanathan Anand, both of them achieving the feat at the age of 18.
Sethuraman completed his third and final GM norm in Poland after he won the event by a one-point margin. He scored seven points from nine rounds to join a select band of 23 Indian GMs.
“I played well in Poland. I lost only one game with IM Sieciechowicz Marcin,” said Sethuraman before he boarded the flight to Delhi on Thursday. “The trip was very difficult. I got the visa in the last minute. I reached the venue just one hour before due to flight delay.”
Sethuraman’s mother Deivinai accompanied him to Poland. His father Panaiappan runs an chess academy at Kilpauk where he teaches 40 students. Though his father was his first coach, Sethuraman turned to professional trainer Alexander Goloshchapov four years ago.
“Goloshchapov had coached Judit Polgar and Negi too. For a while, Sethu also worked with RB Ramesh also,” said Panaiappan. Sethuraman had got his first GM norm in the Parsvnath International tournament in Delhi (2009) and the second norm at Paris (August 2010). He won the World Under-16 chess championship last year.
Sethuraman, who finished ahead of GM Vladimir Sergeev of Ukraine (6 points) in Poland, said he was looking forward to the Premier National Championship beginning in New Delhi next week to further his rating, which will cross 2550 after his recent victory.
“My next target is to reach the 2600-mark. I am planning to play in many tournaments in 2011,” said Sethuraman, who is doing his BCom at SRM University in Chennai. “Before the Poland tournament, I had a yoga training with international athletics coach Anand Natarajan. It helped me to stay physically fit for the tournament,” he added.