Nihal Sarin will, on Wednesday, sign what could well be the biggest sponsorship deal for an Indian chess player after Viswanathan Anand.
Akshayakalpa, the Bengaluru-based manufacture of organic milk, will support the 15-year-old in his quest to become a world-class player.
The sponsorship will help Nihal play in the best tournaments and work with leading trainers.
“A sponsorship like this was something he needed,” Nihal’s manager Priyadarshan Banjan told The Hindu . “It is a long-term sponsorship and is a big step forward for Nihal.”
“It will increase his chances of succeeding at the highest level.”
Chess is a costly affair at the highest level and since Nihal comes from a middle-class family based at Thrissur in Kerala, he requires this financial boost.
Apart from the scholarship he received for two years and a half from Tata Trusts, he hasn’t had a major sponsor.
“We are happy that Akshayakalpa has come on board to help Nihal,” said Priyadarshan.
“Shashi Kumar, the CEO of the company, is a chess player.
“Interestingly, he had played Nihal in a tournament at Bengaluru which was sponsored by Akshayakalpa.”
Nihal, who became the world’s third youngest to cross the 2600 Elo rating last June, will leave for Russia on Thursday to play in the World Cup to be held at Khanty-Mansiysk from September 9.