He has hardly had a moment of rest since he made it to the final of the Chess World Cup at Baku.
R. Praggnanandhaa may have lost to Magnus Carlsen, the world’s best player by a considerable distance, but he won fame the way probably no Indian chess player has since Viswanathan Anand.
From Baku, he had to travel to Dusseldorf for the FIDE World rapid team championship. His team WR Chess was the champion.
After receiving a hero’s welcome in his hometown Chennai, he was invited for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Then he came here for the Indian team’s coaching camp for the Asian Games.
On Tuesday, he will begin playing at the Tata Steel Chess India tournament. “I have always enjoyed being in Kolkata and Tata Steel Chess India is a super tournament,” Praggnanandhaa said at a media interaction here on Monday.
“It was here I got to play for the first time against players like Hikaru Nakamura, Vishy sir (Anand) and Levon Aronian, in 2018. I got a glimpse of what top class chess is about. Even though it was a blitz tournament, I got to learn a lot from these players.”
He is happy that he would be playing both the rapid and blitz sections this time around. “I never played both the events in the same tournament, and I am very excited,” he said. “This year’s field is very strong, as it always is.”
He believes that Arjun Erigaisi and Nihal Sarin too would join Gukesh and him in the world’s top 20. “We are all working very hard,” he said.
Looking back at his meeting with the Prime Minister, Praggnanandhaa said he was made to feel at home by Mr. Modi. “He was asking me about my tournaments, training, and other things in general,” he said. “I was very happy to meet him.”
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