Bronze despite slip at world meet for chess prodigy
By Vishnu Prasad | Express News Service | Published: 31st October 2016 09:04 PM |
Last Updated: 31st October 2016 09:04 PM
CHENNAI: It’s yet another feather in the crown for India’s most promising chess talent. After winning the world U-8 and U-10 championships in the last two years, R Praggnanandhaa has now added a bronze medal in the U-12 category of the World Cadets Chess Championship to his kitty.
The medal comes amidst a series of impressive performances by the 11-year-old at events across the world, even as he steps up his bid to become the youngest ever Grandmaster.
Praggnanandhaa, who became the world’s youngest ever (10 years and 9 months) International Master a few months ago, was the top seed at the tournament in Batumi, Georgia, and looked unstoppable for the first half. He won his first six games and drew the seventh to stay top of the standings. But a slump in his next few games saw the Chennai lad drop down the table before he recovered with a win in the 11th and final game to secure third place.
His coach RB Ramesh is happy with the progress that Praggnanandhaa has been making, but believes he could have done better in the tournament. “He was the top seed, so he could have done a lot better than third,” Ramesh said. “He was dominating in the first half of the tournament with sixth straight wins. Even after seven rounds he was top of the table. So third place from there is not the best. But I thought he did rather well to bounce back in the last round with a win and secure third.”
Praggnanandhaa was not India’s only success story in the tournament. Pranav V came third in the Open U-10 category. Mrudul Dehankar and Divya Deshmukh finished second and third in the girls’ U-12 category. Nihal Sarin finished fourth behind Praggnanandhaa in the Open U-12 category.
Praggnanandhaa had gathered all the headlines when he became the world’s youngest IM ago and Ramesh believes he is on track to bettering Sergei Karjakin’s record as the youngest ever GM (12 years and 7 months). “I am happy with the progress that he is making. I can’t judge him on how far along he is on the route to breaking Karjakin’s record. For me, the important thing is that he improves as a player with every game. And he is doing that. He will next play in London in December,” Ramesh said.