Nihal Sarin wins Gazprom Brilliancy Prize

by Johannes Fischer
1/21/2021 – In the past, many tournaments offered brilliancy prizes for particularly beautiful games, but unfortunately this fine custom has gone a little out of fashion. But the FIDE Online Cadet and Youth World Championships 2020 paid respect to this tradition and awarded a brilliancy prize. It was donated by the Russian company Gazprom, and it was won by 16-year old Indian prodigy Nihal Sarin for an impressive game full of sacrifices and unexpected moves. | Photo: Nihal Sarin (ChessBase India)

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Sac, sac, attack

Nihal Sarin, born on July 13, 2004 is considered one of the world's greatest talents. He became a grandmaster at age 14, and at the same age jumped the mark of 2600 Elo-points. Only two players had ever achieved this at the age of 14: John Burke from the USA and Wei Yi from China.

However, Burke's achievement was partly due to the peculiarities of the Elo-system. In July 2015 the American had a rating of 2258, but after a series of very good results and thanks to a K-factor of 40 he had jumped to a rating of 2603 in August 2015. At the moment Burke has a rating of 2522 and is almost 100 points behind Nihal Sarin, who currently comes to 2620 rating points.

In December 2020, the young Indian celebrated another success. He won the U18 group in the FIDE Online Cadets and Youth World Championships. His game against Francesco Sonis was particularly spectacular and brought Nihal Sarin the Gazprom Brilliancy Prize.

Nine well-known YouTube chess streamers had been asked for their vote, and five of them were particularly impressed by Nihal's stunning sacrificial attack.

Replay the game:


On his YouTube channel, Daniel King, one of the judges, took a closer look at this brilliancy.


Nihal Sarin is not only a brilliant attacker, he also knows something about the endgame. Which he showed when he was a guest in two of Karsten Müller's Endgame Magic Shows.

Endgame Magic, February 25, 2020: Guests: Nihal Sarin and Srinath Naranyan

You can watch these shows on-demand with a ChessBase account. Don't have an account? You can register a free 90-day account to watch!

Endgame Magic, May 14, 2019: Guest: GM Nihal Sarin


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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