A moment that will go down in the books of history, 12-year-old R Praggnanandhaa hailing from Chennai, has become India’s youngest and world’s second youngest Grandmaster after making it to the final round at the Gredine Open in Italy. He missed out on becoming the youngest ever by three months with Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine holding the record of being the youngest Grandmaster in the world at 12 years, 7 months – a feat achieved in 2002. Incidentally, the fourth spot in youngest Grandmasters is also held by an Indian – Parimarjan Negi at 13 years, 4 months and 22 days.
Praggnanandhaa had previously won the title of youngest International Master ever in 2016 at the age of ten.
By beating Moroni Luca Jr in the eighth round, Pragnnandhaa needed to play an opponent above of rating of 2482 in the final round to make his third norm.
fortune favored his odds when he was paired with GM Prujjsers Roeland, rated 2514, which made his progression easier.
Legendary Viswanathan Anand lauded Praggnanandhaa’s feat and picked him out as a bright hope for the future. “What impresses me about Praggnanandhaa is that he’s not just a strong player but mixes imaginative middle game play with patient endgame skills and is uncompromising in not settling for easy, quick draws,” Anand said in an interview to ESPN India. “He’s also shown a level of sophistication in handling tournament games. I think he will go far.”
An early beginner, Praggnanandhaa has been learning chess since the age of 5, along his road to success, he always had the backing of his family who enrolled him in a chess academy.
To become a Grandmaster, one needs to earn three norms and an Elo rating of 2500. Pragnnandhaa had won his first GM norm at the World Junior Championships in Tarvisio, Italy in 2017.
The second norm was achieved after winning the Herkalion Fischer Memorial GM Norm tournament in Greece this year in April.
His dream to touch an Elo rating of 2500 before March 10 took a bump after a couple of 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.