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Talent Test with Ilamparthi - 12 positions for the 12-year-old

by Sagar Shah - 04/04/2021

Talent test has been a way in which we, at ChessBase India, bring forth the shining youngsters who are extremely talented. The first talent test took place in 2017 when IM Sagar Shah travelled to R. Praggnanandhaa's house in Chennai and posed him with a set of questions which the youngest IM in the world had to answer. This ritual then continued with more talents like Nihal Sarin, Raunak Sadhwani, Sreeshwan Maralakshikari and others. Even experienced GMs like Adhiban and Surya Ganguly have dipped their feet in ChessBase India's talent test. This time we have 12 positions for the boy who just turned 12 years old and who we believe is sure to turn some heads in the world of chess in the years to come - Ilamparthi AR. 

When Ilamparthi was just 8 years old we wrote an article on him entitled, the boy who makes Pragg and Nihal look old! The youngster who showed immense promise when his age was in single digits, hasn't failed to live up to the expectations. He went on to become the under-9 national champion by scoring 10.0/10. He won an open rating tournament at the age of just 10 years and prior to the lockdown his highest FIDE Elo was 2176.

The big talent in Indian chess - Ilamparthi AR | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In the last year the pandemic has halted Ilamparthi's progress, just like it did for all other chess players, but the youngster has not lost his motivation to keep improving at the game. He has been working hard, practicing each and every day solving positions, studies, looking over the games of great masters and studying new opening lines. Although his current Elo is 1989, my guess is that with some more effort, the youngster will reach an Elo of 2400 very soon. That's how good he is. And in order to test him, we decided to get Ilamparthi to solve 12 positions. This was done with a timer ticking down and the positions were of differing difficulty. Some of them were tactical, some were positional, some were extremely easy, some were quite tough. The reason why 12 positions were chosen were because Ilamparthi turned 12 on 28th of March 2021.


It took Ilamparthi 1 hour and 10 minutes to breeze through all the positions. I recommend the serious student of the game to setup the positions on your board, write down the answers to them and time yourself. When you are done solving all 12 positions, check the answers in the video given below. In this way you will be able to understand how good Ilamparthi is and what you need to do in order to get better at chess!

The Talent Test

01 - Radjabov vs Nepomniachtchi, Airthings Masters 2020

White to play

02 - Nakamura vs Anton Guijarro, Airthings 2020

White is a piece up, but his knight on d6 is pinned. How did Nakamura wriggle out of it? White to play

03 - Deuer vs Sadzikowski, Krakow Open 2020

Black has certain threats in the position. How does White deal with them? White to play.

04 - Vitiugov vs Makarian, Dvoretsky Memorial 2021

The knight on a5 is weirdly place. How can White take the best advantage of this? White to play

05 - Issakainen vs Franssila, Finnish Team Championship 2019

White to play

06 - Steffen Nielsen

This is a study by the well-known composer Steffen Nielsen. There is only one way for White to win. Can you find it? Hint: Do not underestimate Black's resources.

07 - Babujian vs Daneshvar, Yerevan Memorial 2021

Black's armada of pawns look menacing, but it is not so easy to push them. How did Black find a way?

08 - Tom Wills vs Tanmay Chopra, Caplin British 2020

Black to play

09 - Pashikian vs Sargsyan, Armenian Championships 2021

Both kings are under heavy fire. But it's Black's move here. Can he reach the finish line first?

10 - Tashika Arora vs Katarzyna Toma, Caplin British Online 2021

Not at all an easy one. Black looks clearly better. White has to get into damage control mode here. How do you continue as White?

Barseghyan vs Sargsyan, Armenian Championships 2021

All the rooks in the position are attacking each other! How do you continue here as Black?

Dragun vs Sheng, Charlotte GM 2020

White is a rook down, however his pawn has reached the 7th rank. Black's d-pawn also looks dangerous. How should White continue?

Answers in video format

Ilamparthi has a crack at the above 12 positions. He solves all of them in 1 hour 10 minutes. IM Sagar Shah is the host. Check out the video.

All the questions in this talent test were prepared by the world famous author and trainer Jacob Aagaard (right). Jacob has written some of the best chess books in recent times and his Grandmaster Preparation series is something that every ambitious student of the game has studied in order to get better. When it comes to training, he has worked with some of the best players in the world including Boris Gelfand, Sam Shankland and many others. When I asked Jacob for 12 positions for the talent test, he agreed instantly. I will be soon asking him for his opinion on what he felt about Ilamparthi's talent in the above video. Watch out for this space as I update Jacob's assessment. Meanwhile, if you would like to get better at your chess and would like to train with Jacob and his team of trainers, I would recommend you to check out his acadmy - Killer Chess Training.

Previous Talent tests

The first one with Praggnanandhaa

Raunak Sadhwani

Sreeshwan Maralakshikari

B. Adhiban

Nihal Sarin

Blindfold Test with Vidit Gujrathi


Surya Ganguly

The entire YouTube playlist of Talent Tests on ChessBase India

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