File photo by R Praggnanandhaa
Indian chess prodigy and FIDE World Championship 2023 runner-up Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa met Prime Minister of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin and Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin in Chennai on Wednesday. Praggnanandhaa returned to India today after enjoying a successful season at the 2023 FIDE World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he faced the top three chess players in the world. The young chess grandmaster was greeted with a rapturous reception upon his arrival at Chennai Airport. Outside the airport, the students waved the tricolor and some of them held banners that read ‘World Cup runners-up' to salute the Indian prodigy.
Later in the day he met Prime Minister of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin and Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin. Also present at his meeting with the CM and the Minister of Sport were Praggnanandhaa's coach Ramesh RB, his father Rameshbabu and his mother Nagalakshmi.
India's chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa, who made the whole nation proud with his exploits, mentioned that he felt “really great”.
“It feels really great. I think it's good for chess,” the Indian chess grandmaster told reporters.
After returning to Chennai, Praggnanandhaa said: “I am very happy that so many people are coming here and it is good for chess.”
Praggnanandhaa's sister Vaishali was delighted with the kind of welcome her brother received at the airport. “I witnessed something like this 10 years ago when Viswanathan (Anand) Sir won the World Championship match. He was received fantastically. We went to the airport to actually greet him. It's amazing to see how everyone loves Pragg the same way,” she said.
In the final of the FIDE World Championship, Praggnanandhaa put on an outstanding performance against world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen. However, Carlsen defeated Praggnanandhaa to secure the International Chess Federation World Cup title, and the Indian chess grandmaster had to settle for second place at the 2023 FIDE World Cup. The 18-year-old Indian draws hope from the fact that he has qualified for the FIDE Candidates Tournament.
The Norwegian chess grandmaster won the first game of the rapid chess tie-break with black pieces and managed to draw the second game with white pieces. Praggnanandhaa fought hard but failed as Carlsen used all his vast match experience when it mattered. Previously, Praggnanandhaa and Carlsen had drawn two games in classical chess.
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