When the players assembled at Chennai for the World Junior Chess Championship a fortnight back, Sahaj Grover was in the background as the spotlight beamed on former national champion B Adhiban and his statemate SP Sethuraman, considered India’s best bets to bag the prestigious title because of their higher rankings.
Things did not look very good for Sahaj as he got off to an indifferent start. India’s hopes were diminishing with three rounds to go when the 16-year-old made his move, closing in with three successive wins – the last two against higher rated Grandmasters, to claim a morale-boosting bronze medal on Monday.
The Delhi teenager, who won the World Under-10 Chess Championship in 2005 and the National Sub-junior title last year, outclassed GM Ter Sahakyan Samvel of Armenia in the final round on Monday to not only clinch the third spot but also made his second GM-norm. “Today’s game was difficult and complicated at the same time. It almost spiralled out of control and I could wrest control only in the endgame,” Sahaj told HT after his match.
This win gave Sahaj his second GM norm. The 16-year-old International Master is now one norm away from becoming a Grandmaster. “I’m happy that I could secure a GM norm. I have now crossed 2500 ELO points and am looking forward to earning my third norm to realize my dream of becoming a GM,” Grover added.
Meanwhile, Polish GM Dariusz Swiercz won the World Junior Open title.