HYDERABAD: Nineteen-year-old Peddi Rahul Srivathsav‘s dream came true on Friday, when he crossed the ELO mark of 2500 to clinch the Grand Master title.
Rahul is the fourth GM from Telangana after Arjun Erigaisi in 2018, Harsha Bharathakoti (2019) and Raja Rithvik in 2021. He is the 74th in a long list from India pioneered by Viswanathan Anand.
Rahul achieved the feat after drawing his eighth round game against GM Levan Pantsulaia at the 9th Cattolica Chess Festival in Italy.
A player has to secure three GM-norms and cross the live rating of 2500 ELO points to become a GM. Rahul already has five GM-norms and would get another soon, but as the calendar was affected by the pandemic, he had to wait to collect the last few points.
Despite the delay, he was excited to become a GM. “I am delighted to become a GM. I could have achieved this a few years back, but I am happy nevertheless. Now I can freely play different tournaments and try different things,” the Hyderabad lad told TOI on Saturday.
Inspired and initially trained by his father Peddi Srikanth, who was a college-level player, Rahul proved his mettle when he became the U-9 state chess champion in Visakhapatnam.
“I noticed his skills when he was quite young. Once he won that title I decided to encourage him,” his father said. “We were very excited once he crossed the 2500 mark,” Srikanth added.
Like Arjun, Rahul also trained under Ramaraju and Muralikrishna. “I thank my parents for supporting me and my coaches Sipke from the Netherlands, Ramaraju and Muralikrishna from India,” Rahul said.
With Covid-19 playing havoc with the calendar, Rahul moved to Dallas to pursue his undergraduate. Chess helped him to secure a scholarship and study in the USA. While playing tournaments, he also trains with several internationals including GMs at the university.
“Magnus Carlsen is my favourite and Viswanathan Anand from India. And among the current lot, my dear friend Arjun. Both of us trained together and stayed together,” Rahul said and added that Arjun hasn’t stopped playing well in the last three years.

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