World Youth Chess Championship: Happy, but a lot more to be done, says GM R. B. Ramesh on India's performance

With one gold, three silver and as many bronze medals, it was India’s best performance since 2015 but Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh said improvement was needed.

Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh, as a coach, has nurtured many talents into potential world beaters.

In terms of numbers, Ramesh’s students have won around 35 World youth medals, 40 Asian Youth medals, 40 Commonwealth medals and claimed 35 National titles!

Currently, Ramesh’s most famous student is 14-year-old Praggnanandhaa, winner of three world titles, with the latest addition made on Saturday with the World under-18 crown. Not many remember that teenaged GM Aravindh Chithambaram, the current National champion in classical, rapid and blitz time formats, is also Ramesh’s student.

But Ramesh, the most sought-after chess trainer, is not the one to measure success in terms of medals won. “In general, as a philosophy, I don’t get disappointed when my players don’t do well. Likewise, I don’t get carried away when they do well.”

Reflecting on India’s record seven medal-winning performance, including Praggnanandhaa’s gold, Ramesh says, “Very happy with Pragg’s win. Two things here, he chose to play the higher age-category since he wanted to play in a tougher field. Secondly, it was his decision to play in the World youth instead of the on-going FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, where the cream of world chess is participating.

“From a personal perspective, I think it would have been good if he had played in the Grand Swiss. You get opportunities to play with much stronger players. But I feel, India being the host (of the World Youth championship) it was important that we put of a good show, with our best players. It makes a big difference to various stake holders of Indian chess, like organisers, sponsors, government, media etc.”

About his two other under-14 students Divya Deshmukh and Rakshitta Ravi, the top two seeds who settled for silver and bronze medals, Ramesh says, “Divya (a two-time World age-group gold medallist), had handled the pressure pretty well. But here, in some ways, her opening choices could be better with black pieces since she lost twice. In general, she has to work a lot harder.

“Rakshitta had a pretty decent performance as compared to Divya. In fact, she was completely winning against Divya on two different moments in the game. They both need to be mentally tough to handle pressure-situations like these. It is very important for champions to bring out their best in tough situations.

“In the girls’ under-16, where India was not expected to win a medal, Saina Salonika and B. Mounika Akshaya did well to raise some hopes. But in under-18, Vantika Agarwal did very well to claim the silver. She has always done well in international events and won medals for the country. She is a very strong player. I feel, she can perform consistently well if can control her emotions better.”

Overall, Ramesh says, " a lot of work needs to be done." Among the boys, Ramesh chose to praise top seed M. Sreeshwan’s comeback to claim the bronze.

“Sreeshwan started well but had  a few accidents in the middle-phase but recovered well to beat R. Abinandhan with black pieces in the crucial final round. That shows good recovery from Sreeshwan.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

Read the Free eBook

  Dugout videos