A world of expectation may weigh heavily on the tender shoulders of R. Praggnanandhaa, who earned the title of the second-ever youngest Grandmaster (GM) last week. Aged 12, the Chennai-born chess player returned to a hero’s welcome earlier this week.
And on Sunday, in an event co-hosted by Microsense and Gurukul Academy, the youngster showcased his genius when he took on three participants simultaneously, while being blindfolded.
India’s chess ace, Viswanathan Anand, while commending his feat, requested that the youngster be allowed the support and the time to achieve long-standing success in the game.
“It doesn’t really matter what happens in every step of his life. It's one journey. I think he should be very relaxed now. When I became the GM (at 18), for the first few months, I did not make a single norm again. I often remind people of this. It seems that once you hit a goal, you don't know what to with yourself,” Anand said.
The former World Champion felicitated his junior statesman, who was in the company of his parents, coach, R.B. Ramesh, and friends, at the event. Praggnanandhaa was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh for his achievement at the Gredine Open last week.
Anand praised Praggnanandhaa’s ‘speed’ with which he was able to understand cues put forward to him. He also singled out the people who have played a key role in creating a conducive atmosphere for him to thrive in.
“I want to stress that - it's nice to receive support but it’s wonderful to get the support at the right time you need it the most. I think that lot of the help he needs, he will need it now. He will need to cope with all the expectations that come now. Suddenly, there is almost too much weight on his shoulders,” Anand said.
The young Grandmaster agreed with Anand’s idea of focusing on the ‘process’ rather than charting a short-term success story. “I agree with Sir (Anand). My aim is to improve my rating,” the young gun said.