Which chess master loved the game the most

The royal talent: Sreyas Payyappat (12) from the HSK Lister Tower mixes up the chess scene

The twelve-year-old Sreyas Payyappat is considered a talent of the century in chess. Even at a young age, the Indian from the HSK Lister Tower dominated his opponents at will. His coach Dennes Abel believes in the great career: "He would have to turn wrong several times in order not to be really good."

He is considered one of the greatest talents in the world - and that at just twelve years old. When things get complicated on the chessboard, Sreyas Payyappat is in top form. Pressure means incentive. He sees even the most hidden features in a flash.

One of many examples: In the fourth round of the German youth championship against Tim Sauer from the Bemerode chess center, things seemed to be critical. The talent of the century from HSK Lister Turm conjured up a fantastic queen sacrifice on the board and won the game on the move but one. “Tactically, Sreyas is a monster. When he has the positions on the board in which he feels comfortable, the opponents have to dress warmly, ”enthuses coach Dennes Abel.

Proud winner: Sreyas Payyappat, the chess talent from the HSK Lister Tower, shows his trophy and certificate from the German championship. © German Chess Youth

Victory in Willingen

In Willingen, Sreyas showed his class and won the title with 6.5 points from seven laps. As number one on the seeding list, he was the favorite, “but a tournament like this was a new experience. I didn't think he would march through, ”Abel emphasizes.

At the age of six, the Indian-born seventh grader learned the rules of the royal game from his mother. The family came to Germany three years ago through the father's job. In his age group, Sreyas is one of the top ten children in the world. The German championship should only be one step in the development. “I want to be a strong player and at least a grandmaster. In any case, I want to break the limit of 2700 Elo points, ”says Sreyas confidently. A big goal that will make the seventh grader one of the best brain teasers in the world. At 2882 Elo points is the best value that chess superstar Magnus Carlsen achieved in 2014.

Great praise from the ex-world champion

At the end of last year, ex-world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who is considered one of the best coaches in the world, confirmed that he has what it takes to be big. As part of a course in Hanover, he compared the young Indian with the Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand (2817 Elo), one of the best players in the world for 30 years.

For Abel, this assessment places a great burden on his student's shoulders, even though the performance curve is steeply upward. The coach became aware of the district individual championship in October 2019, when the two sat opposite each other in the fourth round. Dennes Abel was on the win but made a mistake that was punished immediately. It was only after more than four hours that the eventual winner of the tournament was able to use his Bundesliga experience. "Today I wouldn't be able to do that anymore."

Cooperation pays off

Dennes Abel was surprised that Sreyas did not have a trainer. Nevertheless, the understanding of chess is impressive. "Sreyas made it this far because he learned to work alone very early on." There are only some weaknesses in the openings, but both have worked on that in the past few months. With success, as the Claus Dieter Meyer memorial tournament in Bremen recently showed.

Sreyas left his scent brand not only when he defeated the 250 Elo points stronger international champion Nikolas Lubbe. Of course there were also defeats, but the twelve-year-old copes well with them. "He's just looking forward to the next game," emphasizes Abel, who describes his protégé as being absolutely crazy about chess. For a player who loves chess because it's "so much fun to play", the year was tough - because the corona-related restrictions only allowed four tournaments on the board.

"I've never worked with a child like that."

Training is currently only available online. Sreyas Payyappat has kept his good mood and humor. The best conditions to go a long way. Dennes Abel has no doubts: “I have never worked with a child like that. He would have to turn wrong several times in order not to be really good. "