Aditya Mittal and Sreeshwan Maralakshikari score two IM norms and cross 2450 Elo
Aditya Mittal and Sreeshwan Maralakshikari have many things in common - both of them are born in 2006 and are 12 years old. Both of them had a rating of around 2250 and both of them are immensely talented. Not to forget that they are great friends of each other and often practice chess together. The question was why weren't they making their norms? Well, the two boys decided to let their chess do the talking. Both Aditya Mittal and Shreeshwan Maralakshikari scored back to back IM norms and pumped up their rating over 200 Elo points to reach 2450+. While Aditya scored his IM norms at the Mumbai IIFLW 2018-19 and Delhi GM international 2019, Shreeshwan did it at the Lorca Open 2018 and Roquetas De Mar 2019 in Spain. In this article IM Sagar Shah looks at these two amazing talents in more depth.
Aditya Mittal and Sreeshwan Maralakshikari are both highly talented youngsters of Indian chess. Born in 2006, they are 12 years old. Gukesh, who is born in 2006, recently became a GM, the second youngest in the world and has a live rating of 2508. While Aditya and Sreeshwan have to get their GM norms and IM title, in terms of Elo rating they are not too far behind.
Aditya lives in Mumbai and has been one of the biggest talents of the city for quite some time. At the national under-13 this year in Ahmedabad, he had a very unfortunate accident where he slipped and fractured his legs. Since then the boy has been on a wheelchair. It's been over six months now, but even an adversity of this magnitude has not come in between Aditya and his passion for the game of chess. With a rating of 2251, he played at the IIFLW Mumbai GM 2018-19. Even though he lives in Mumbai, his parents invested in getting a room near the venue to save time in commuting and also so that they could focus on the tournament better. It's these little things that make a difference between a good and a great performance. Aditya fought hard in each and every game and made his first IM norm.
With this result, the 12-year-old had pumped up his rating to 2364. Not to forget that he also won the late Neelkantan award for the most promising and upcoming player of Mumbai worth Rs.21,000 at the same event. Aditya and his family quickly packed their things and got ready for the Delhi GM Open 2019 which was going to begin in a day. Once the Delhi tournament began, Aditya picked up just from where he had left and scored his second IM norm.
Just to show you what a fighter this young lad is, check out his victory over GM Swapnil Dhopade. Swapnil had been dominating the entire game, but in time pressure Aditya was able to swindle his much stronger opponent and checkmate Swapnil's king.
Aditya gained 112.8 Elo points at the Delhi GM 2018. His live rating was 2364, so that should take him to 2476! However, FIDE has a rule that the k-factor x the no. of games for a rating period cannot exceed 700. Aditya's k-factor is 40 and he has played 19 games. K-factor (40) x no. of games (19) takes it to 760. Hence he would not be gaining 225 Elo points, but instead 208, which takes his live rating to 2459.
The first time I saw Sreeshwan was at the under-11 nationals in Pune in November 2017.
Although he had lost the game and was very sad, Sreeshwan spoke to me nicely. These are some of the small signs that you start to notice in a player when you are trying to find talented youngsters at a tournament venue. Also I had seen some of Sreeshwan's games and was impressed by his positional play. Here are two of his wins from the Commonwealth Championships 2018 where he became the under-12 champion.
The above two games were not clean, but the spark can be seen. After Sreeshwan won the under-12 Commonwealth title, ChessBase India conducted an interview with him:
In December 2018 and January 2019 Sreeshwan planned a trip of three tournaments to Spain - Sunway Sitges, Lorca Open and Roquetas De Mar. On the first day of the trip he created a big flutter by beating the top seed and world class player Vassily Ivanchuk.
Although Sreeshwan had such a great start at the Sunway Sitges, he couldn't make an IM norm. But he kept his cool and in the next two tournaments at Lorca and Roquetas De Mar he scored two back to back IM norms.
Here's one Sreeshwan's favourite game at the Lorca Open 2018, annotated by the lad himself:
Sreeshwan's rating as on 1st of January 2019 was 2278. He gained a total of 193 Elo points, which takes his rating to 2471. He has played 18 games in one rating period, so there will be a small adjustment and he would gain 187 Elo points. That takes Sreeshwan's live rating to 2465!