Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa is a prominent Indian chess player. In February 2022, he became the fifth one who won the Grandmaster title after the notable chess players Abhimanyu Mishra, Sergey Karjakin, Gukesh D, and Javokhir Sindarov.
Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa was born on Wednesday, 10 August 2005 (age 16 years; as of 2021) in Padi, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. His zodiac sign is Leo. He was pursuing his ninth standard from the Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai in 2022.
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Rameshbabu, and he is a bank employee. His mother’s name is Nagalakshmi. He has a sister named Vaishali Rameshbabu. She is a chess player.
Praggnanandhaa was the winner of the World Youth Chess Championships Under-8 title in 2013. He received the title of FIDE Master when he was seven years old. He was the winner of the Under-10 title in 2015 following which Praggananandhaa made history at the age of 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days and became the international master chess player. He was the winner of the World Junior Chess Championship in 2017 and won his first chess grandmaster title. He earned his second chess grandmaster title on 17 April 2018 at the Heraklion Fischer Memorial GM Norm tournament in Greece. On 23 June 2018, at the Gredine Open in Urtijëi, Italy, Praggananandhaa received the third grandmaster title at the age of 12 years, 10 months, and 13 days. At this age, he became the second-youngest person to win this title. On 12 October 2019, the World Youth Championships in the Under-18 section was won by Praggananandhaa.
He earned the rating of 2600 in December 2019 and became the second-youngest person to earn this rating. In April 2021, he was the winner of the Polgar Challenge that was arranged by the Julius Baer Group and Chess24.com for young talents. He was the winner of the Masters’ championships organised by the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in 2022. He was the winner of the Airthings Masters championships in February 2022 and created history in its eighth round by defeating his opponent Magnus Carlsen, who is a world chess champion. He was first congratulated by Sachin Tendulkar, who was watching his game online, on his Twitter handle. Sachin wrote,
What a wonderful feeling it must be for Pragg. All of 16, and to have beaten the experienced & decorated Magnus Carlsen, and that too while playing black, is magical! Best wishes on a long & successful chess career ahead. You’ve made India proud!”
In May 2021, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa stunned the world champion in chess Magnus Carlsen at the Chessable Masters online rapid chess tournament. The fifth round of the match was heading towards a draw, however, a blunder from Magnus Carlsen in his move resulted in Carlsen’s defeat. Despite winning the match Praggnanandhaa was not happy. In a media conversation, he said,
I do not want to win that way.”
- According to the father of Praga, initially, his family did not want Praga to participate in chess championships. His father stated in an interview with a media house that Praga started showing interest in chess when he was only three and a half years old. His father said,
Praga was only three-and-a-half years old when he began showing interest in the sport. His elder sister Vaishali was already being coached in the sport and is an International Master. Our financial situation was such that we could hardly manage to fund her classes and ferry her around. And when Praga took a keen interest in chess, my wife and I could not afford to let him pursue it.”
- Praga’s father is a polio patient. The mother of Praga often visits the world chess championships tournaments along with her children. His sister is a notable chess player. She was the winner of the title Woman Grandmaster (WGM), which were held at the Riga Technical University Open chess tournament in Riga, Latvia on 12 August 2018. She was also the winner of the title International Master (IM) in 2021.
- RB Ramesh is the coach of Praggananandhaa, and Ramesh often organises weekly chess camps for Praga so that he could practice better. According to Praga’s father, Praga regularly watches online chess championships that would help him to brush up his chess playing skills and traits. He further added that Praga regularly plays outdoor games so that he could relax his mind. His father stated that Praga is very good at studies too but he focuses more on chess playing. He said,
He studies well but the main focus remains chess. Academics take a back seat.”
- Praga often posts his pictures and videos on social media which is handled by his team members. Over 11k people follow him on Facebook, and over 26k people follow his Twitter handle.
- He is often featured by various renowned newspapers in their articles.
- On 22 February 2022, soon after he won the Airthings Masters championships, he was asked by some media sources about his winning celebrations. He then replied,
I think it’s about just going to bed.”
- The Indian chess champion Viswanathan Anand congratulated Prag on social media soon after Praga won the Airthings Masters championships and stated that Praga had all winning ingredients in him. He said,
Prag is the real deal. All he needs to do is dot the i’s and cross the t’s. The basic ingredients are all there — just needs to be the complete package.”