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Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa surpasses Viswanathan Anand to become India’s No 1 chess player

Published at :January 17, 2024 at 5:28 PM
Modified at :January 17, 2024 at 5:28 PM
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(Courtesy : R Praggnanandhaa,/Instagram)

Ajay Gandhar


The 18-year-old defeated the reigning world champion to achieve this feat.

Chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has achieved a historic feat by becoming India’s top-ranked chess player, overtaking the legendary Viswanathan Anand in the live ratings. The 18-year-old from Chennai defeated the reigning world champion Ding Liren of China in the fourth round of the Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, on Tuesday (January 17).

Praggnanandhaa, who started playing chess at the age of five, is the fifth-youngest person ever to attain the title of Grandmaster. He is also the first Indian since Anand to reach the final of a Chess World Cup, and qualify for the Candidates event, which is the pathway to a World Championship match.

With his victory over Ding, Praggnanandhaa scored 2748.3 points in the FIDE live ratings, edging past Anand’s 2748. Anand, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest chess players of all-time, has been the undisputed No.1 in India for over three decades. He has won the World Championship five times and is the only player to have won the title in three different formats: knockout, tournament, and match.

Pragnanndha has been a prodigy since making marks on the circuit. He started by winning the World Youth Chess Championship Under-8 title in 2013, which earned him the title of FIDE Master. He repeated his success in the under-10 category in 2015.

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He made history in 2016 by becoming the youngest international master ever, at the age of 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days. He continued his remarkable progress by achieving his first grandmaster norm at the World Junior Chess Championship in November 2017, where he finished fourth with 8 points. He secured his second norm at the Heraklion Fischer Memorial GM norm tournament in Greece on 17 April 2018.

He completed his grandmaster title by achieving his third and final norm at the Gredine Open in Urtijëi, Italy, on 23 June 2018, by defeating Luca Moroni in the eighth round. He became the second-youngest grandmaster in history, at the age of 12 years, 10 months, and 13 days, only behind Sergey Karjakin, who attained the title at 12 years and 7 months.

Praggnanandhaa’s elder sister, R Vaishali, is also a Grandmaster, making them the world’s first-ever brother-sister GM duo. She is the third Indian woman to achieve the grandmaster title, and has won several national and international titles.

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