The inspiring journey of Chess prodigy Praggnanandhaa

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India’s Chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa is brilliant, hardworking and disciplined. To start off with, playing Chess was a mere hobby for him. But today, he is a grandmaster who has five wins, two draws and one loss against the world champion, grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. His latest win against Carlsen came at the FTX Crypto Cup in the month of August. Praggnandhaa finished as the runner up in the tournament.

Road to glory

Praggnanandhaa started playing Chess at the age of 3 with his elder sister Vaishali. Their parents never really liked their kids spending too much time in front of the TV, hence introduced them to the game in their childhood. The boy from Chennai, who just turned 17 last month, is the next big thing in Indian Chess!

Praggu, as he is fondly called by his friends, had become the youngest International Master in the history of the game of Chess in 2016, at the age of 10. He is also the youngest player and the third Indian to defeat Norwegian superstar Magnus Carlsen. Legends Viswanathan Anand and P Harikrishna had achieved the feat earlier.

Chess prodigy Praggnanandhaa

Life of a Chess wizard

Praggnanandhaa’s polio-afflicted bank employee father Rameshbabu and mother Nagalakshmi are very happy with the accomplishments of their children. It’s Praggnanandhaa’s mother who accompanies him and his sister to tournaments. She is always beside them cheering them on for achieving greater success. Praggu’s 19-year-old sister Vaishali is also a grandmaster and is pursuing chess with passion as well. 

Praggnanandhaa is a big fan of homely south Indian food. In an interview given to Mathrubhumi magazine, the Chess wizard’s mother says that “Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali watch television only when they are having meals.” She also said that the “kids always prefer a healthy diet and do not really follow movie stars/celebrities.”

The Chess maestro is unfazed by victory or loss, and that’s his biggest strength. Praggnanandhaa is the fifth youngest grandmaster of all time. When he achieved the prestigious title in 2018, he became India’s youngest grandmaster ever.

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa

Praggnanandhaa has constant interactions with his sporting idol, the legendary Viswanathan Anand. The chess prodigy is an active member of the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy.  The Covid-19 pandemic affected the youngster’s momentum as several tournaments were called off or delayed. But Praggnanandhaa continued to dominate, making use of every opportunity that came his way.

His longtime coach and mentor, R B Ramesh feels that the latest victory against Carlsen will boost Praggnanandhaa’s confidence and will encourage him to do better.   

Other than Chess, Praggnanandhaa loves cycling and playing cricket. He regularly watches highlights of nail biting cricket matches. The Chess prodigy enjoys watching comedy films as well. Another favorite hobby of his is playing table tennis. The young boy has a calm and fun loving personality.

Supportive parents have always been the strength of Praggnanandhaa and his sister. Their father installed an inverter and two broadband connections at their home, so that the kids can play online Chess tournaments without any interruption.   

Praggnanandhaa goes to temple regularly and prays before making his first move on the Chess board.



A class 11 student, due to his busy ‘Chess’ life, Praggnanandhaa finds it difficult to attend school regularly. He usually goes to school only once in three months to collect notes. The Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary school has been quite supportive in the prodigy’s journey. Praggnanandhaa and his sister only need to write their annual exams and the rest of the time they can focus on their ‘Chess’. 

So, this is the journey of the young chess superstar Pragnanandhaa so far! 

Young talents, if given the right kind of support and direction, can bring fame and glory to our nation!

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