Chess prodigy Nivaan feted by Union Minister Gadkari

by Shrutee K/DNS
Pune: Upcoming chess prodigy Nivaan Khandhadia, from Pune, had the honour and privilege of being felicitated by the Honourable union minister Nitin Gadkari, at a function, here, recently. The young chess player recently created history of sorts by becoming the youngest rated chess player in India.
According to SMCA release, the Union Minister Gadkari acknowledged the achievement of the talented six-year-old Nivaan by felicitating him and boosting his confidence with words of encouragement. “Your achievement is great, but you must work harder if you want to continue doing well and reach the top. That’s the only way you can fulfill dreams of becoming the youngest Grandmaster in India and worldwide,” Gadkari advised the youngster.
Nivaan with an outstanding rating of 1137 ELO points, is currently world ranked no.10, according to the May 2018 FIDE rating list released by the World Chess Federation.
The Pune lad had participated in the recently concluded World School Chess Championship held in Albania and was the youngest candidate in the Indian contingent. He, however, did not finish with a high as he scored four points from nine rounds in the Under-7 category, but he is determined to win the title next season.
A senior KG student of the Vibgyor High School in Magarpatta, Pune, Nivaan's introduction to the sport came when he was just over four years of age by his father Rathin and he quickly picked up the moves and learnt the various strategies. He train under watchful eyes of coach Vishwanath Sandilya at the South Mumbai chess Academy (SMCA), Pune and spends quite a lot of time in front of the 64 squares board during practices.
Nivaan spends four-five hours a day working on his game and learning how to become better. It's no surprise that he has already won a total of 17 trophies and nine medals at the district and state level.  He stood third at the state level, bagged the seventh position in the state school level and the 13th position at the national school level in the U-7 age category competitions. All this and he's not even seven!
Nivaan has also received full backing and support from his school management and his dad Rathin was quick to acknowledge it. “Words can't describe my excitement at the moment. I would like to thank Vibgyor High school for all their support without which, my son wouldn't have been able to achieve what he has done today,” said an excited Rathin.
Coach Vishwanath Sandilya is proud about Nivaan’s performances and success. “I’ve all the reasons to be proud looking at the way Nivaan has taken giant strides in chess and I believe that the kid possesses the right mindset to carry on and achieve greater laurels.”
His mother Priti has heaped praise on SMCA and his coaches Bajali and Sandilya as she said, “SMCA has played a leading role guiding my son in the right direction. They have been really supportive all this while. Also I would like to thank his coaches Balaji Sir and Sandilya Sir for providing him with the right kind of guidance that he needed to excel in the sport.”
Nivaan, an ardent admirer of Norgwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, has the potential to grow bigger and become Maharashtra's brightest chess star.

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