The Magnificent Rise of R Praggnanandhaa

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The young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa (full name Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa) is one of India’s emerging chess talents. His glorious journey in Chess is mesmerizing and he has made India proud on multiple occasions. R Praggnanandhaa also pulled off the unimaginable when he had stunned the Norwegian Grandmaster, Magnus Carlsen twice in 2022. Pragg has been awe-inspiring and his incredible performances over the years has earned him rapid success in Chess. Take a look at his incredible journey in the next section.

R Praggnanandhaa became chess Grandmaster at 12

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Praggnanandhaa hails from Padi, an industrial township in west Chennai. His father K Rameshbabu is a bank employee. He has traveled to more than 30 countries during his young chess career. Born on August 10th, 2005 in Chennai, Praggnanandhaa is the sibling of Vaishali Rameshbabu, an eminent Indian chess player. It is needless to state that the teen is inspired by five-time world champion and India’s first Grandmaster, Viswanathan Anand.

It was back in 2018 when Praggnandhaa became the second youngest Grandmaster in the history of chess at the tender age of 12 years, 10 months, and 13 days.

For those who are unaware, a Grandmaster in chess is a player who has won three norms and an Elo rating of 2500. For Praggnanandhaa, his first norm GM norm came during the World Junior U-20 Championships in Italy in 2017.

Often hailed as a genius, Pragg achieved the second norm at the Fischer Memorial GM Norm tournament in Greece in 2018. He won the tournament. And the third norm came when Praggnanandhaa made it to the final round at the Gredine Open in Italy in June 2018. However, one can understand that it was not a smooth ride to become a Grandmaster.

He bagged the World Youth Chess Championship Under-8 title in 2013 and was only seven when he achieved the title of FIDE Master after winning the tournament. The prodigy continued his winning streak in 2016 and became the youngest International Master when his age was 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days.

Praggnanandhaa defeated Wesley So in one of the matches at the Magistral de León Masters in Spain in 2018, which was seen as a big victory even though the other games ended in a tie and Praggnanandhaa lost the last game.

Praggnanandhaa had been on a winning streak; recorded two wins over Magnus Carlsen

In 2018 itself, he tied for third place alongside GM Alder Escobar Forero and IM Denys Shmelov in the Charlotte Chess Center’s Winter 2018 GM Norm Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina. Praggnanandhaa was also triumphant at the Xtracon Chess Open in Denmark in July 2019. He continued the streak in October that year when he won the World Youth Championships in the Under-18 category.

In December 2019, Praggnanandhaa became the second-youngest player to achieve a rating of 2600. In 2021, Praggnanandhaa added another accolade to his name when he won the Polgar Challenge at the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour.

The young genius, Pragg pulled off the unbelievable victories in the three-game Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2022. The accolade doesn’t stop there as he went on to record wins over World Champion Carlsen twice in 2022.

Pragg picked up his first victory against Carlsen in the eighth round of the Airthings Masters, an online rapid chess tournament in February. He defeated the World Champion for the second time in his career after a ‘blunder’ from the proficient player in the fifth round of the 16-player Chessables Masters online rapid chess tournament.

Most recently, R Praggnanandhaa endured a loss when he went down fighting to world No.2 Ding Liren in the tie-break of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Chessable Masters 2022 online tournament final early on Friday. He bagged a whopping sum of $15,000 for finishing second.

Despite the loss, the future looks promising for the young chess star as he continues to make India proud in the field of Chess.

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