The second youngest-ever Grand Master R Praggnanandhaa would easily rate the championship winning time as the biggest moments in his career so far, but the Chennai lad had another memorable moment as he caught up with the five-time world chess champions Viswanathan Anand at his residence in Chennai and exchanged ideas with him.
Having become a GM at the age of 12 years, 10 months and 13 days, ‘Praggu’, as he is affectionately called, is hogging the limelight ever since his return to the city.
Praggnanandhaa admires Anand a lot and could not hide his delight when he finally met his idol on Thursday.
“I was delighted to meet him. It was always my dream to meet him and to get some inputs from him is something I will remember always,” he told PTI.
Praggnanandhaa, a student of Velammal School in Chennai is already aiming high. He aims to become a Super Grand Master and is ready to go all the way to achieve that.
“The next target is to improve my ratings and become a Super GM,” said the student of Velammal School here, whose current FIDE rating is 2529.
He is planning to play a number of tournaments and his next event will be at Leon in Spain, from July 5.
Anand, who has the honour of being the country’s first-ever GM, said he enjoyed meeting the newest entrant to India’s GM club adding he was impressed with the lad’s ability to grasp things quickly.
“We looked at chess a little bit, exchanged ideas..I gave him soome general advice... exchanged experiences.He grasped things quickly and I found that impressive,” the 48-year-old, who won the World Rapid title in December last, told PTI.
He said Praggnanandha, who missed out on becoming the youngest ever GM in the world (a record which still stands in the name of Sergey Karjakin) stands to benefit after having earned the title.
“In fact, there was added pressure on Praggnanandhaa as he was chasing the record. It (pressure) will be less on him now and he can focus on his game,” Anand added.
On what the future holds for the 12-year-old, he said the young player is talented and it has to be seen how things develop.
“Pragga has the talent and we have to see how things develop from here. He has a long road ahead of him and will play a lot of tournaments and keep learning,” Anand said.
Further, the hugely experienced former world number said he had advised Praggnanandhaa to make new friends while he travels abroad for tournaments and also try new cuisine.
“I told him to try new cuisine when he is travelling abroad for tournament. Also, I advised him to make new friends as having social circles during tournaments helps. That will also make the travelling easier,” Anand said.