Vladimir Kramnik: Current Indian chess crop strongest in the world

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik had high praise for the young chess crop of India.

Former World champion Vladimir Kramnik poses with six Indian teen-talents. (from left): Leon Mendonca, Prithu Gupta, R. Praggnanandhaa, D. Gukesh, P. Iniyan and Raunak Sadhwani. The Russian is training these youngsters in Chens Sur Leman, France.   -  CHESSBASE INDIA

In the chess world, India’s teen-talent has been making waves. The current crop, led by R. Praggnanandhaa, is clearly the most promising bunch seen in a long time.  Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik is in complete agreement with this opinion.

“I think the current Indian chess crop is the strongest generation in the world now, maybe the strongest ever in one country,” Kramnik said.

This observation from the now-retired Russian wizard only reinforces the growing belief in the global chess fraternity.

Impressed by available Indian talent, Kramnik agreed to hold a training session for six youngsters. The group includes Grandmasters, Praggnanandhaa (born in 2005) D. Gukesh (2006), P. Iniyan (2002), Prithu Gupta (2004) and International Masters Ranuak Sadhwani (2005) and Leon Mendonca (2006). They are training at Chens Sur Leman, France, close to Geneva, where Kramnik lives.

Intially, GMs Nihal Sarin and Arjun Ergaisi were part of the six-player list. However, Nihal pulled out due to prior commitments and Arjun had to undergo an knee-surgery following an accident.

READ | Praggnanandhaa to lead field at World Youth Chess Championship

Sharing the details of the Kramnik-Microsense Chess India Program, scheduled from August 14 to 25, Kramnik said, “The idea of training the young talented Indian kids came during my conversation with Mr. Frederic Friedel, my good friend from ChessBase. One of the young Indian talents was at Frederic’s home and I shared my high opinion about Indian youngsters. India’s got some really very talented kids with a potential of being top players, maybe even World Champions in the future.

I expressed this opinion and Frederic came up with this idea that maybe I can hold a training session and share my experience with them. Subsequently, Sagar Shah from ChessBase India came into the picture and managed to put all the logistics together in place. I appreciate the selfless gesture of Mr. S. Kailasanathan for making this happen. This is an extremely important service for Indian chess, without expecting anything in return”

Talking about the blue-print of the camp, Kramnik said, “In the first session I would like to get to know the players personally, to talk to them, to answer the questions that they have on their mind. We will be touching upon all the aspects of the game including opening, middle-game and the endgame. I am going to prepare very seriously for the camp. I will give my insights of how I prepare psychologically and professionally for chess tournaments and I would share with them my views on many issues of professional chess.

“I will also be sharing secrets which only top players are aware of because of their experience of playing chess at the highest level. I will also prepare some specific lectures for the camp and allow the kids to play with each other and then later analyse these games in detail.

“I am pretty sure that this camp will be very useful for the young talents who will participate. If everyone would be happy after the camp – the sponsors, the kids and me, then we will continue doing more such sessions.

“I am now retired from chess and not playing competitively anymore. It means a lot to me that I can share my knowledge with the most promising juniors who can achieve something big in the future,” concluded Kramnik.