Mumbai lad Rishabh wins bronze in Sri Lanka

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Fourteen year old Rishabh Shah won two bronze medals in the Under-14 rapid and blitz formats in the Western Asia Youth Chess tournament.

Fourteen-year-old Rishabh Shah of Mumbai produced some steady performances which helped him  secure two bronze medals, in both the Under-14 Rapid and Blitz formats of the 2nd Western Asia Youth Chess Championship which concluded in Waskaduwa, Sri Lanka on Monday.

The third ranked Rishabh (ELO 1,667 points), a product of the South Mumbai Chess Academy (SMCA), was one of the stars of the tournament and started with a win against Sri Lanka’s Alwala A.D. Hansaja Ramith in the opening round. Thereafter, he continued to produce decent results, but the loss to top ranked F.M. Mohammad Fahad Rahman of Bangladesh (ELO 2,153 points) and a couple of draws dashed his chances of finishing with the gold. However, Rishabh, a student of Cathedral & John Connon School, managed to finish with a tally of 5 points from a possible seven, and had to settle for the bronze.

In the Blitz format Rishabh could only manage 4.5 points but it was good enough for him to seal a podium finish.

“It’s an honour to represent the country and win medals for India. I thank my mother for being there all the time for me. I would also like to thank all my coaches at SMCA, who helped me and groomed me to become a world class chess player. Winning the World Chess title is my goal,” said young Rishabh, after his success.

The Cathedral & John Cannon boy started playing the game of wits when he was 7 and entered his first tournament the year after.

His mother Archana traced his journey, saying, “In his first tournament, he felt so intimidated by other players that he almost had a breakdown. He always feels so in the big tournaments but a little pep talk and his he’s good to go. He has achieved a lot for 14-year-old but we don’t want him to think he’s the best. He is always around his chess board thinking about new tricks and strategies.”

“Altough Rishabh performs well in his academics, he does not have any pressure from our side. After his school, he wants to go abroad to train and increase his rating. We support that because of his passion for chess,” she says.

Sri Lanka’s Candidate Master G.M.H. Thila-karathne (ELO 1,781) picked the gold with a tally of 6 points, while Bangladesh’s Mohammad Fahad Rahman finished with 5.5 points for the silver. The Blitz gold was won by Mohammad Fahad Rahman (6 points) and Thilakarathne (5.5 points) took the silver.

In the Classical format, Rishabh narrowly missed out on a podium finish as he ended in fourth position with 6.5 points out of 9. The Mumbai boy drew with second seeded Thilakaratne, who eventually ended up on the second position. A total of 187 players from five countries had taken part in the open category.

FIDE Master Balaji Guttula of the SMCA, the institution that produces some of the country’s best and consistent child performers in chess, felt that the Mumbai teen has a lot of talent in him and with every passing day, he is improving.

“Rishabh is a very talented player and time and again, he is proving this prowess with incredible victories across the world events. He is a versatile player who triumphs in all formats,” he said.

A former Singapore Open champion and a national champion, Rishabh has a knack of drawing games against Grandmasters.



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