“Praggu” also has family support — as his sister R. Vaishali is a woman international master with a good record in competitive chess.
India is proud to have its youngest chess grandmaster in history, who is also the world’s second youngest. The tweenager, Praggnanandhaa, is just shy of 13, and a world of opportunities opens up for him. Of course, his problems may have just begun as the burden of expectations in an age of intense media exposure is very high. But then, becoming a grandmaster these days also attracts various vital support systems: in sponsorship, money for more intensive coaching and public recognition. Living up to the hype may be a big challenge, but at least Indian sport now offers incentives to excel. “Praggu” also has family support — as his sister R. Vaishali is a woman international master with a good record in competitive chess.
The game, said to have been invented in India, has taken deep roots in this country, including Chennai, which threw up India’s first GM in Manuel Aaron. Praggu, coached by Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh, will have no dearth of iconic figures to follow as his city also produced a world champion in Viswanathan Anand, who is still an intrepid performer in elite global competitions and the reigning world champion in rapid chess, besides having been a legend on the circuit for years together since becoming a GM at 18. There were times in the early days when very little literature would be available on great games but today’s databases offer everything to those willing to slog in studying and analysing chess. It is up to the youngster to use the opportunities to show his true worth in the years to come.