Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa

Date Of BirthAugust 10, 2005
Age18 years 10 months 10 days
Day of BirthWednesday
Place Of BirthChennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Zodiac SignLeo
ProfessionChess
Nickname Praggu
Full Name Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu
Other Name Prajnananda Ramesh Babu

Personal Information
ReligionHinduism
Languages English , Tamil
NationalityIndian
EthnicitiesTamilian , Indian
ComplexionDark Brown
Body Features & Measurements
Eye color Black
Hair color Black
Family Information
Father Ramesh Babu (works at State Corporation Bank)
Mother Nagalakshmi
Sister R. Vaishali (elder; chess player)
Career Information
Years Active 2010-
Favorites, Hobbies, Likes/ Dislikes
Favorite sports persons Magnus Carlsen
Vishwanathan Anand
Social Networks, Web links
Facebook ProfileRameshbabu Praggnanandhaa Facebook Profile
World Chess Federation ProfileRameshbabu Praggnanandhaa World Chess Federation Profile
More Information
Coach R. B. Ramesh

Biography

Praggnanandhaa R (pronounced Pragg-na-nan-dhaa) is an Indian chess player and International Master. In 2016 he became the world's youngest International Master ever at the age of 10 years 10 months 19 days. At the age of 12, he became the second youngest ever to become a grandmaster.

In January of 2024, Prag became the highest rated Indian Classical chess player for the first time with a rating of 2748.9, overtaking the likes of Vishwanathan Anand, Vidit Gujarathi, Gukesh Dommaraju who had held it previously.

Family- Childhood

Parents

Praggnanandhaa R was born on 10th August 2005 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu to Ramesh Babu(father) & Nagalakshmi(mother). He lives in the suburb of Padi in Chennai, his father K Ramesh Babu is a branch manager at TNSC Bank (The Tamil Nadu State Apex Co-operative Bank), while mother Nagalakshmi is a home maker.

His father Rameshbabu became disabled with Polio in childhood, he is a graduate and works at Tamil Nadu state Co-operative Bank. It is Rameshbabu's fascination with chess that made him get both his kids get trained in chess.

when Prag and Vaishali were young, their mother used to take both of them to various international tournaments around the world.

Praggnanandhaa R with parents, father Ramesh Babu, Mother NagaLakshmi

Image: Praggnanandhaa R with parents, father Ramesh Babu, Mother NagaLakshmi

Sister

His older sibling, sister- Vaishali Rameshbabu, is a star in the Indian chess by her own merit. Vaishali is a 2 time Youth Chess Champion and a Grandmaster. She became the third ever female Grandmaster from India, after Koneru Hampi and Harika Dronavali.

She received Arjuna Award, the highest award for a sportsperson in India on 9th January 2024.

Praggnanandhaa with sister Vaishali and mother

Image: Praggnanandhaa with sister Vaishali and mother

Greatest Brother sister duo of Chess world

Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali

Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali are the first brother and sister duo ever in the recorded history of chess to become gradmasters.

The two are also the first brother-sister duo to qualify for the candidates.

Education

Prag attended Velammal Main Campus in Chennai for his education, The school has distinction of promoting chess as their main sport and boasts of star players like Praggnanandhaa, GM Gukesh D, GM Leon Mendonca, and other high rated players such as Ajay Karthikeyan, Pranav, Rakshitta, Rindhya, Savitha. The school was a blessing for him, as it was easy to get leave for his travel outside the country.

Praggnanandhaa and his mother were welcomed in to the school on a chariot after his return from the 2023 FIDE World Cup as the runner-up. 

 

Career

Prag first made his big impression at the World Youth Chess Championship in the Under-8 division held at Al-Ain (UAE) by winning the title.

Praggnanandhaa, winner of the Under-8 category World Youth Chess Championship

[Praggnanandhaa, winner of the Under-8 title at the World Youth Chess Championship]

In 2015, Prag won the Under-10 title at the World Youth Chess Championship held at Porto Carras (Greece).

In 2015, Prag joined GM R.B Ramesh's chess coaching academy in chennai. 

Youngest International Master

Prag became the Youngest International Master (IM) at the age of 12 years 7 months. The previous record was held by Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine. Prag broke the previous record by almost 2 years, quite a record considering there wasn't more than 6-7 months difference between the previous records. The great Magnus Carlsen was 13 years 4 months old when he became an international master.

Grand Master

Prag achieved his first Grandmaster norm at the (November) 2017 World Juniors Chess Championships when he drew the match against GM Alekseenko Kirill of Russia in the seventh round, he finished the tournamet at fourth with 8 points.

Almost after 5 months of his first GM norm, in 2018, he achieved his second norm at the Herkalion Fischer Memorial GM Norm tournament in Greece. He had to defeat Markidis konstantinos in his final round-robin clash for the second norm, and he did it. He finished the tournament at the top of the podium with 7.5/11 points, Greek GM Nikolaidis Loannis and Anand Nadar of India finished second and third at the tournament.

On 23rd of June 2018, Prag achieved the third norm at the age of 12 years, 10 months and 13 days, he was the second youngest chess player at the time achieve the feat. He was just 3 months behind the Russian master Sergey Karjakin. He achieved it at the Gredine Open in Urtijëi, Italy by defeating Luca Moroni in the 8th round of the tournament.

Leon Masters (2018): Prag was invited to the Magistral de León Masters in Spain in January 2018, he played the semi-final 1 against Wesley So of USA. He won the first round against So in the 4 game rapid format. However, So won the final rounds to inch ahead of PRag with 2/5:1.5 and moved on to the finals. So went on to win the cup with a finals win against Francisco Vallejo Pons.

Charlotte Chess Center's 2018 Winter GM Norm Invitational: Prag scored 5/9 at the invitational competition held in Charlotte, North Carolina. He finished joint third along with GM ALDER ESCOBAR FORERO and IM DENYS SHMELOV. JOHN BARTHOLOMEW and KEVIN WANG finished first and second respectively

Xtracon Chess Open (2019): At the 2019 Xtracon Chess Open held in Denmark, he scored an extraordinary score of 8.5/10

World Youth Chess Championships: In 2019, he won the Under-18 title at the World Youth Chess Championship held in Mumbai (India) with a score of 9/11. 

2600: At the age of 14 years, 3 months and 24 days, in December 2019, he achieved the rating of 2600. He was the youngest person at that time to achieve the score of 2600, he overtook his friend and fellow Indian Nihal Sarin who was the previous youngest to score 2600 points at thetime. He defeated GM Jules Moussard to achieve a rating of 2602.

Polgar Challenge: In 2021, Prag won the Polgar Challenge with a score of 15.5/19. 1.5 points ahead of Nodirbek Abdusattorov (It was the first leg of the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour). Gukesh Dommaraju and Nihal Sarin, his Indian compatriots finished 3rd and 4th.

Champions Chess Tour 2021: Prag finished 10th at the tournament with a score of 7/15, it was a really tough tournament with the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Jan Duda, Radjabov and others. Prag managed wins against Radjabov, Jan Duda, Sergey Karjakin and Johan-Sabastian Christiansen, while managing a draw with Magnus.

Chess World Cup 2021: In the 2021 Chess World cup held at Sochi, Russia which boasted of 206 players in the single-elimination format, Prag started the tournament as the 90th seed. He reached the fourth round, defeating Filipino IM P Bersamina 1.5:0.5, in the first round, then GM Gabriel Sargissian of Armania 2:0, and Polish GM M Krasenkow 3:1. He lost the fourth round to the French Super GM M Vachier-Lagrave 1.5:0.5

Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2022: At the 84th edition of the annual chess tournament held in Wijk aan Zee, Prag finished 12th out of the 14 candidates, he scored 5.5/13, Magnus Carlsen scored 9.5/13 to top the charts and win the tournament. The highlight for Prag in the tournament was winning against Andrey Esipenko, Vidit Gujrathi and Nils Grandelius

Champions Chess Tour 2022: Prag beat Magnus (15+10 time format) at the Airthings Masters rapid tournament of the champions chess 2022 on 20th February 2022. At that time, he was only the third Indian player after Vishy Anand and Harikrishna to beat Magnus Carlsen in any format. He was also the youngest player ever to beat Magnus, later that year, in October, Gukesh beat Magnus to become the youngest to beat Magnus Carlsen.

Chessable Masters online rapid chess tournament (2022): Prag beat Magnus again at the online tournament in the 5th round of the tournament, the game looked as if going towards a draw, but a blunder by Magnus opened up the game for Prag. Prag advanced to the finals, and met Ding Liren. The first game of the finals ended in a draw, Prag achieved a win in the second round and a draws in the next 2 rounds, but Ding Liren won the final round to become the champion.

FTX Crypto Cup: The Rapid 4-game head-to-head match tournament of 2022 featured a mix of young champs old established stars of the game. Magnus Carlsen, Jan Duda, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Lime Le the experienced ones; Alireza Firouza, Prag and Hans Niemann among the younger ones.

Prag finihsed the tournament ranked second with 15 points, just behind the great Magnus Carlsen who scored 16, It was symbolic that Magnus and Prag fought the last head-to-head match of the tournament. Prag managed to beat Magnus thrice in the match, a remarkable feat for a 16 year old.

Tata Steel Chess Masters 2023: At the 85th edition of the annual Wijk aan Zee games, Prag was one of the three contenders from India. It was a very tough tournament with even the tournament topper Anish Giri scoring a moderate 8.5/13. Nodirbek Abdusattarov and Magnus Carlsen both scored 8/13. Prag finished with 6/13, while his compatriots Gukesh and  Arjun finished with 5.5/13 and 4/13 respectively. He was placed 9th. [2]

Chess World Cup 2023: At the world cup held in Baku, Azerbaijanin July-August. It had 206 participants, from the highest seeded Magnus Carlsen(2835) to Yousef Alhassadi(2030) of Libya. 

Prag got Bye in his first round, so did Hakamura, the highest seeded player in the last section (16). His second round was against M Lagarde of France, which he won 1.5:0.5. The third round was against David Navara of Czech republic, which he won 1.5:0.5, his next match was against the great Hikaru Nakamura, which he won 3:1. In his 5th round against the Hungarian GM Ferenc Berkes, Prag won 1.5:0.5.

Prag's toughest game was in the Quartefinals against his fellow Indian and close friend Arjun Erigaisi, the match went on and on and Prag finally won the match 5:4. The Semi-Finals against Fabiano Caruana was a tough fought one, which Prag won 3.5:2.5. And the finals were set up against Magnus Carlsen. Prag lost to the champion 1.5:2.5, Prag managed 3 draws and a loss.

Prag is the second Indian ever after Vishy Anand to reach the finals of the World Cup. His reaching the finals helped him qualify for the 2024 Candidates Tournament. [3]

 

Interesting Facts & Trivia

  • He and his sister rarely play against each other, they are very competitive and their parents don't want them to fight.
  • His parents did noit want Praggna to become a chess player, Vaishali was already a player and the family couldn't afford the expenses of two.
  • Praggnanandhaa practices for 4-5 hours a day.
  • He learned Chess at the age of 5
  • Coach: Praggnanandhaa is coached by RB Ramesh. R.B Ramesh is a former champion, he had won British Championship in 2002 & Commonwealth Championship in 2007. His chess school is called "Chess Gurukul". Ramesh's wife Aarthie Ramaswamy is a Grand Master as well. Ramesh and Aarthie are the first Grand master couple of India. Chithambaram Aravindh is another prodigy from the Gurukul
  • Praggnanandha wants to score 3000 points, a feat in chess even the greats have not achieved so far.
  • Praggnanandha's role model Vishwanathan Anand in an interview was all praises for Praggnanadha
  • Sponsors: Praggnanandhaa is sponsored by Ramco(2019), and recently Adani
  • Praggna is a very rooted child, he visits his grandmother often and goes to temple to celebrate his wins.
  • Heroes of Chennai: He was nominated for the "Heroes of Chennai" award in the sports category
  • Kerala Floods Donation: Praggnanandhaa and his sister Vaishali donated 10000 INR each towards the flood relief fund
  • Vishwanathan Anand after observing Praggnanadhaa's game said- "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"
  • Home food: Whenever he goes out to play in the international tournaments, his mother accompanies him, she cooks him South Indian home food for the lunch whereever they are.
  • 2020 Young Athlete of the Year: Praggnanandhaa won the 2020 award gvien by Sportstar Aces
  • At the Isle of Man Masters 2016, Praggnanandhaa defeated GM Axel Bachmann in 18 moves. It was one of those games that announced Prag to the world.

 

Quotes

  • Some of that confidence in me comes from my sister

 

Sources

  1. R Praggnanandhaa on wikipedia
  2. Tata Steel Chess Masters 2023
  3. Chess World Cup 2023
  4.  

 

 

 


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