Thirteen-year-old Parimarjan Negi is not used to the cameras and attention. The youngest Indian GM, he started playing chess under father JB Singh Negi when he was just four-and-a-half.
What would he have done had it not been for chess? "I would have been a scientist," said the young boy, who is here for the Amity Grandmasters Challenge starting on Sunday at the Russian Centre.
It will be difficult for Parimarjan as he will play six classical games, six rapids and six blitz games against Ukraine's Kateryna Lahno. Kateryna has already earned the International Master title and is currently seventh among the women players.
Parimarjan has a slight edge as he had beaten Kateryna to earn the GM title earlier this year in Russia. So, has Kateryna come with a special plan this time to beat the Indian? "I am prepared. I will answer all your questions after my matches."
Although they live far away, the two players have something in common — both became Grandmasters at a young age.
Will she give Parimarjan a lesson in handling pressure at a young age. "I think he is doing fine," said Kateryna.
Parimarjan will be playing the classical chess format for the first time after becoming GM. And he admits that classical is his favoured format. "Since chess is about gaining points, the result will depend on who takes the lead in the initial classical games. “Whoever is down will face more pressure in the rapid and blitz games," added Parimarjan.