Having moved from 1854 to 1912, there is still a way to go to reach the GM level of 2400-2500 points, but his form at the championships showed he is making excellent progress.
Fourteen-year-old Rahul was introduced to chess at the age of four by his chess-loving dad, and was immediately hooked. He joined the ranks of the professional players at 8 and has risen gradually since then.
Representing his home country of India in the Bankok tournament, Rahul played against seven nationalities and scored 4.5 points from a possible 9 points, with 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses. Notably, he had one win against a higher-rated Scottish player and drew with three higher-rated players from Germany, India and Thailand. It was these performances that pushed up his rating and gave him the extra experience to improve his own game.
He says, “At first I was nervous but, after the first three games, I got very excited that I would increase my rating. When I lose a game, I can learn from my mistakes; like maybe I made a mistake in the opening, so in the next game I can change it.”
Getting to this level of chess takes dedication and Rahul practises for between 18 and 20 hours each week and has a chess coach. He has competed in tournaments in Hong Kong, India and Greece, but the championships in Thailand was his first Grand Master tournament. Playing at that level also gave him the opportunity to meet some of the stars of the chess world, including Nigel Short, a Grand Master from England who was placed number two in the tournament. It has also inspired him to set a personal goal. He explains, “I want to become a Grand Master before I turn 18.”