My next target is to become a Super GM: Praggnanandhaa

Praggnanandhaa rated the victory over GM Roeland Pruijssers at the Gredine Open recently as one of the best in his career.

Praggnanandhaa said he couldn’t have achieved anything without the support of his school (Velammal MHSS), coach (Ramesh) and parents.   -  M. VEDHAN

R. Praggnanandhaa’s quest to become a Grandmaster began after he became an International Master in May 2016. After more than 20 tournaments across the globe and quite a few close misses, the 12-year-old from Chennai finally got his final GM norm in the Gredine tournament at Ortiesi, Italy.

Was it not frustrating or was he under any pressure? “There was little pressure,” said Praggnanandhaa here on Tuesday on his arrival from Italy.

“Since I have been playing for a while, I was able to focus,’” added Praggnanandhaa.

He rated the victory over GM Roeland Pruijssers at the Gredine Open recently as one of the best in his career. But the 12-year-old added that his wins over a higher-rated Alex Bachman in 18 moves in the Isle of Man tournament in 2016 and the victory over David Howell in the same tournament in 2017 were as good.

Praggnanandhaa also played against Sergey Karjakin (he is the youngest GM), whose record he couldn’t overtake, in the Aeroflot Open in February. “We played two games in the blitz format, and I drew one and lost the other. We played and shook hands.”

The youngster credited coach R.B. Ramesh for teaching the intricacies involved in openings and calculations — analysing one’s game — and most of all “to enjoy chess”.

Praggnanandhaa said he couldn’t have achieved anything without the support of his school (Velammal MHSS), coach (Ramesh) and parents.

“My next target is to improve my ratings and become a Super GM,” said Praggnanandhaa, who will next play in a tournament at Leon, Spain beginning July 5.