Nihal Sarin has signed the biggest sponsorship deal by an Indian chess player since the great Viswanathan Anand. The 15-year-old has been taken on as brand ambassador by Akshayakalpa, an organic milk manufacturing company based in Bengaluru.

Sarin, the youngest Indian ever and third-youngest player in history to break the 2600 barrier, is the current Asian Continental Blitz Chess Champion.

This is the youngster’s only big sponsorship deal after the one he received from Tata Trusts two years ago. As chess is an expensive sport at the international level, this latest deal will help him compete in big tournaments around the world and hire good trainers.

“A sponsorship like this was something that he needed,” Sarin’s manager Priyadarshan Banjan was quoted as saying by Sportstar. “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.”

Sarin , who has a FIDE rating of 2610, is the India No 11 and world No 206. He crossed the 2600 rating barrier at 14 years 10 months, becoming the youngest Indian and the third-youngest player overall to do so. His blitz rating of 2685 already makes him world No 49 and India No 3 in the blitz format.

Sarin will be leaving for the World Cup on Thursday, beginning on September 9 in Russia.