To become a sporting sensation in India is an achievement, but to attain the status at an age of 12 years speaks volumes about his talent, skills and prowess. R Praggnanandhaa’s achievement is no mean thing. All of 12 years, the young lad has become the second youngest chess Grandmaster ever. Accolades have galored for Praggnanandhaa, who has touted to be the next big thing in Indian chess after the legendary Viswanathan Anand.
The little genius, who hails from Chennai, has become the country’s youngest and the world’s second youngest Grandmaster at the age of 12 years, 10 months and 13 days. Praggnanandhaa achieved the remarkable feat after reaching the final round of the ongoing Grenadine Open in Italy. However, he missed out on becoming the youngest ever by three months to Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine who holds the record of being the youngest Grandmaster in the world at 12 years, 7 months. Karjakin had achieved the feat in 2002.
Incidentally, the fourth spot in the youngest Grandmasters is also held by an Indian – Parimarjan Negi at 13 years, 4 months and 22 days.
Chennai-based Praggnanandhaa was paired with Grand Master Prujjsers Roland in the final round, which ensured him the feat. After beating GM Moroni Lica Jr in the eighth round, he needed to play an opponent above the rating of 2482 in the next round to make his third GM norm.
As remarkable as it was, such feats are not unusual to this boy wonder. In 2016, Praggnanandhaa became the youngest International Master at the age of 10 years, 10 months and 19 days. Praggnanandhaa had the chance to break Karjakin’s record last year and did come close to making the GM norms but missed out narrowly in the end.
However, Praggnanandhaa’s path hasn’t been rosy as he faced tough times in the circuit this year after experiencing disappointing results at the World Junior Championship (finished fourth), Charlotte Chess, Gibraltar Chess Festival (finished 63rd) and then a race against the clock at the Bobby Fischer Memorial.
Praggnanandhaa’s feat looks like a tremendous one when consider that Anand became GM at 18. One of the greatest of all time, Bobby Fischer achieved the feat at 15 and Norwegian genius Magnus Carlsen at 13.