The game of chess has gifted us gigantic talents from its country of origin, notably K Sasikiran, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Tania Sachdev, Harikrishna, and of course, the one and only Vishwanathan Anand, the pride of India who has achieved every honour a chess player can dream of. Now, there’s a new legend in the making. Meet Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, the young teenager from Chennai who has just crossed 2600 Elo ratings!
Named after Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-American physics professor, Elo rating system is a method used to calculate the skill level of a player in chess. Praggnanandhaa, born on 10 August 2005, has achieved a monumental Elo rating of 2602 at a striking age of 14 years, 3 months and 26 days and is now the youngest Indian ever and the second youngest in the world to cross the 2600 mark.
Nihal Sarin, his compatriot was the youngest Indian yet to achieve the feat last year, aged 14 years and 10 months at the time. The youngest chess player to ever achieve this feat is John M Burke from USA, who reached an Elo rating of 2601 mark September 2015 when he was only 14 years and 2 months old, who broke the previous world record set at the age of 14 years 5 months and 23 days by Wei Yi from China.
Now a chess prodigy, Praggnanandhaa defeated 24 year old French GM Jules Moussard in the seventh round at the 11th London Chess Classic – FIDE Open chess tournament 2019 on Thursday.
Speaking to Sportstar, Praggnanandhaa said: “I was stuck in 2586 (Elo rating) for two years. I am happy I did it here. I didn’t think too much about it.”
After round 7, Praggnanandhaa is currently the leader with 6.5 followed by India’s Aravindh Chithambaram in second place with 6 points. They will face each other in Round 8.
Praggnanandhaa won the 2013 World Youth Chess Championship Under-8 title at age 7, which granted him the title of FIDE Master. He also won the under-10 title in 2015 at the age of 9. In 2016, he became the youngest International Master in history at the age of 10, and earned his first grandmaster norm at the 2017 World Junior Chess Championship, and thus became the fourth youngest GM in history.
Praggnanandhaa’s elder sister, Vaishali Rameshbabu, is a Women’s Grandmaster and a two-time youth chess champion.