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India's R Praggnanandhaa becomes second youngest Grandmaster in the history of chess

Sohinee Basu
341   //    24 Jun 2018, 11:20 IST

Chennai-born R Praggnanandhaa is the youngest GM alive
Chennai-born R Praggnanandhaa is the youngest GM alive

What's the story?

The fact that India has been perpetually dominant in chess isn't a strange one anymore. Thanks to prodigies like R Praggnanandhaa, who at 12 years, 10 months and 13 days has managed to become the world's second youngest Grandmaster, and has become the youngest ever Indian to achieve the feat after reaching the final round at the Gredine Open in Italy.

In case you didn't know...

The talented boy from Padi, Chennai at 10 years 9 months had become the youngest International Master in the history of chess. Had he completed all his GM norms and touched an ELO of 2500 before March 10 this year, he would have gone past Ukraine's Serjey Karjakin and become the world's youngest GM.

The heart of the matter

Enroute to tasting his unique success, Pragnanandhaa beat GM Moroni Luca Jr in the eighth round and just needed to play an opponent above a rating of 2482 in the final round to make his third norm. A pairing with GM Prujjsers Roeland, rated 2514, made it convenient.

Ukraine's Sergey Karjakin remains the youngest ever GM having achieved the feat in 2002 at 12 years and 7 months.

The Chennai boy won his maiden GM norm at the World Junior Championship in Tarvisio, Italy in November 2017. He rushed to complete his second norm with a win in the final round-robin match at the Herkalion Fischer Memorial GM norm tournament in April 2018. After that, it was a matter of time only. He got his third at the 4th Gredine Open which was held in Italy.

Praggnanandhaa stumbled on chess quite by chance because his parents decided to let his sister, the 16-year-old R Vaishali, learn it and on seeing her play, Praggnanandhaa was smitten by it and took to chess from a tender age.

A student of class nine now, Praggnanandhaa spends his time training and travelling for tournaments only making time for school during exams. He has taken a fleeting interest in Table Tennis of late too.

Even Vishwanathan Anand took to Twitter to congratulate the young prodigy.

What's next?

The fact that India has been lapping up to so much success in chess of late is truly wonderful. The legacy is in safe hands and with the likes of Praggnanandha, the current youngest GM alive, the road ahead looks to be an uphill climb towards soaring success and nothing else.

Sohinee Basu
I am this teeny-tiny adult kid with a horrible obsession of poetry and words. It will be too less to say that I love everything about tennis and a certain Roger Federer also! I love everything from the smell of old books to the thrill of watching tight matches!
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