India got their 61st Grandmaster when sixteen-year-old P. Iniyan, hailing from Erode, won at the ongoing Noisiel Open in France. Iniyan defeated GM Sergey Fedorchuk of Ukraine in the sixth round to become the 61st Grandmaster for India as he crossed the 2500-point in ELO ratings. Even though Iniyan had earlier received his three GM norms, the teenager could not get his ELO rating past 2500 points, thus failing to become a GM. Iniyan went past the 2500-mark with a win over top seed Fedorchuk.
Speaking to Times of India, Iniyan said, “It is nice to have the GM tag next to me. I am happy and quite relieved at this point of time. I would like to thanks my sponsors Olirum Erodu Foundation for their support and my school the Indian Public School. My coach K Visweswaran has been with me through and thick and I owe a lot of my success to him.” He added that crossing 2600 will be his next ambition.
His mother Saranya, who was accompanying him at the competition, accepted that Iniyan was under a lot of pressure to become a GM. “There was a lot of pressure on him to become a GM. He never showed it and the best aspect was that the wait didn’t make him tinker his preparations at all,” she said. Former World Chess champion Vishwanathan Anand also congratulated Iniyan on his official Twitter account and said, “Congrats and welcome to No. 61! GM. Iniyan! In 1987 we were all wondering if we would have a GM and we closely watched each other in trying to get there first. Now it seems every other month we have a GM!”