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Raahul VS is the latest International Master of India

by Shahid Ahmed - 16/11/2021

18-year-old Raahul VS scored his first IM-norm back in March 2017 at  Sharjah Open. He scored his second IM-norm at Prague Open 2018 and in the next ten months, he scored his final IM-norm at 1st Goa GM Open. He reached 2381 in December 2018, but a few setbacks moved him further away from 2400. The Chennai lad played his last over-the-board tournament 4th Shaastra Rapid Rating in February 2020. The Covid-19 delayed his opportunity to fulfill the rating criteria. 14-months later he returned to Classical chess tournament. He scored his fourth and fifth IM-norm before crossing 2400 in the live ratings on Children's day, 14th November to become India's latest International Master. Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Perseverance pays off eventually

Sometimes you are this close to achieving your dreams, something that you have worked for years but you get yanked away far from it in just a matter of few days. Raahul VS completed the norm requirements by October 2018 and he reached his then peak rating 2381 by December. However, his rating dropped to 2234 in January 2020. That did not deter him from his journey. He worked hard, persevered a tough time and crossed 2400 in November 2021 to earn his much deserved International Master title.

Raahul VS becomes the latest IM of India | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

We reached out to Raahul for his thoughts and he shared, "I am very happy and grateful for my family and my coach RB Ramesh who have supported me till now and continuing to give me their support".

First IM-norm

Raahul scored his first IM-norm at 1st Sharjah Masters International in 2017. Despite starting with only 0.5/2, he won the next three games and finished with a score of 5.0/9, performed 2425, including wins over GM Zaur Mammadov (AZE) and IM Jaime Santos Latasa (ESP), drew with GM Jan-Christian Schroeder (GER) and IM Nitin S. He gained 33.2 Elo rating points.

Jaime - Raahul, Round 5

Position after 13.d5

Jaime Santos Latasa who was an IM back then, erred early in the middlegame as he made incorrect pawn sacrifice 13.d5. He put up a lot of fight to extend the inevitable result.

Raahul scored 5.0/9, performed at 2425 and gained 33.2 rating points over four and a half year ago in 2017

Raahul VS scored his first IM-norm in March 2017

Second IM norm

Almost nine months later, Raahul scored his second IM-norm at Prague Open A 2018 in Czech Republic. He made a fantastic start, scoring 6.0/7, including wins over IM Evgenij Kalegin (RUS), WGM Bhakti Kulkarni and a draw against IM Manuel Pena Gomez (ESP). In the penultimate round, he lost to GM Milan Pacher (SVK). However, he bounced back well to beat IM Zhen Yu Cyrus Low (SGP) to finish at eighth place.

Raahul - Kalegin, Round 7

Position after 19.Bxd6

19.Bxd6 actually does not work because 19...Rxd6 20.c5 Rxd4 21.cxb6 Rxe4 and Black has decisive advantage due to gaining extra material. Sometimes an inaccurate sacrifice can work too if you can read your opponent's mind. Black made a mistake 19...c5 20.Bxe5 Bxe5 21.Nf3 White not only gained a valuable pawn but also gained positional advantage which he converted into a win in the next few moves.

Raahul scored 7.0/9, performed at 2458 and gained 59.2 Elo rating points en route his second IM-norm
Raahul VS makes his second IM norm at the Prague Open 2018

Raahul VS with his second IM-norm certificate at Prague Open 2018

Third IM-norm

Raahul VS scored his final IM-norm at 1st Goa International GM Open, nine months after he scored his second IM-norm. He scored an unbeaten 8.0/10 to finish at sixth position after starting the event as the 54th seed. He defeated GMs Neelotpal Das and Valeriy Neveroy (UKR), IM Rafael Bakunts (ARM), WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy; drew with GMs Alexandr Predke (RUS), Deepan Chakkravarthy and IM Sayantan Das.

Raahul - Predke, Round 4

Position after 21...Qf6

Computer suggests 22.Qxd7 Qxa1+ 23.Bf1 Qf6 24.Bb4 which is quite interesting. The game continued 22.Rb1 Bxe3 23.Qb3+ Kh8 24.dxe3 Qxd6 and the game was drawn in another six moves.

Raahul performed at 2498 and gained 58.8 Elo rating points

Raahul en route his final victory over GM Valeriy Neverov (UKR) | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Fourth, fifth IM-norm and live rating 2400+

Raahul scored his fourth IM-norm at GM Round Robin Rujna Zora 2 in April this year, in his second Classical tournament after being away from over-the-board action for almost 14 months. However, he still needed to get to 2400 in the live ratings. He scored his fifth IM-norm at GM Rujna Zora 5. On 14th November, he crossed 2400 in the live ratings at 6th BOŽIDAR KIĆOVIĆ International Open.

Raahul crossed 2400 in the live ratings at 6th Bozidar Kicovic International Open

Great company elevates everyone! L to R - IM Raahul VS, GM Iniyan P, Hari Madhavan N B and Avinash Ramesh in Serbia

Raahul's coach GM R B Ramesh tweeted on his student becoming India's latest IM

Replay Raahul's games

Previous coverage of Raahul VS

A cute discovered check to win the rook and the game!
"Praggnanandhaa and Aravindh push me to work harder on my chess" - Raahul VS
Raahul VS shows you the intricacies of the English Opening
The Royal Dance of the Queen and the King!


Related news:
Raahul V S clinches AICF National Junior Open Online 2021

@ 30/07/2021 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Raahul V S triumphs at Talent Chess Academy 1st Open Rating

@ 02/09/2019 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
Prague Open 2018: Raahul VS scores his second IM norm

@ 23/01/2018 by Prashant Mullick (en)
Raahul V S is the National Amateur Champion

@ 28/12/2016 by ChessBase India (en)

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