Podcast: From Pragg and Gukesh to Divya Deshmukh - getting to know India’s chess prodigies

In this episode of Sportstar Podcast, Mayank and Rakesh Rao take a closer look at India’s talent teenage crop in chess and what sets them apart from each other and the world. 

Published : Sep 13, 2023 11:42 IST - 0 MINS READ

The rise of Indian youngsters in the world of chess in the recent years has been nothing short of remarkable. The quartet of exceptionally talented young players - R. Praggnanandhaa, Arjun Erigaisi, D. Gukesh, and Nihal Sarin - has been making waves on the international chess scene, garnering attention and accolades along the way.

Praggnanandhaa made the community sit up and take notice in the recently concluded FIDE Chess World Cup in Baku where the 18-year-old made it all the way to the final before going down to one of the best in business - Magnus Carlsen.

This run also ensures his entry into the Candidates 2024 and makes him only the second Indian to qualify for the marquee event after veteran Viswanathan Anand.

While Praggnanandhaa made a name for himself through his incredible performance, Gukesh surprised everyone by becoming India’s No. 1 ranked player owing to his meteoric rise in rating points.

The 17-year-old, another chess export from Chennai, ended Anand’s 36-year reign at the top with a current live rating of 2757.

Anand, who first made it to the World’s top 10 in July 1991, has remained India’s top-ranked player in all published lists since January 1987.

Arjun, Nihal, and Raunak Sadhwani are also among the young people who frequently make headlines with their performances, but the list does not stop there. India is quickly approaching 100 Grandmasters, and the average age of Indian GMs is currently among the lowest in the world.

In essence, the rise of Indian youngsters in chess is a testament to the enduring legacy of Anand, who paved the way for their success. While the younger generation takes centre stage, Anand’s influence and accomplishments remain an integral part of India’s rich chess history. Together, they represent the past, present, and future of Indian chess, making the country a formidable force on the global chess scene.

In this special episode, Mayank and Rakesh Rao sit down to talk about the rise of Indian youngsters in this sport.

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