India is home to uncountable child prodigies in all fields, and here’s a new ‘genius’ addition to the list, this time in the sport of chess. Lifting India’s head with pride, Ramesh Praggnanandhaa, a Chennai boy became the world’s second-youngest Grandmaster ever on Saturday night when he was just 12 years, 10 months and 13 days old.

Being a genius is rare, being a child genius is rarer – so is India’s little chess champion – R Praggnanandhaa, who is fondly known as Praggu. At a mere age of 12 years and 10 months, Praggu achieved defeated GM Moroni Luca Jr in the eight round 8 of chess at the 4th Gredine Open in Italy on Saturday – to become the second youngest Grandmaster in world. Talking about the win, Praggnanandhaa said, “There is a sense of relief that I have done it. I guess the feeling is yet to fully sink in. I wasn’t aware of the prospect of becoming a GM till someone informed me while I was heading for my round 8 match. I chose not to think of it as it would have robbed me of my concentration. My next target will obviously be to become the world champion.”

However, this isn’t Praggu’s first international achievement; in fact, he had become the youngest International Master in the world in May 2017 and has also won his first GM norm at the World Junior Championships in November last year. He fell short of just two more GM norms before March 10 this year, which if he would have achieved, it would have made him the youngest ever GM beating the record of Sergey Karjakin who had achieved the feat earlier at 12 years and 7 months in 2002. Perhaps, the little genius is extremely contained with his achievements and is heading towards his next goal, without worrying too much about the results.

As a child, when he was introduced to the game by his parents, it become evident right away that he had a knack for making the right moves. Praggu’s father says that he loved the game thoroughly and played it without worrying much about the end result. After winning the GM title Praggu stated that he did face the pressure of winning the title but never allowed it to affect his performance in the game. Even his coach, R B Ramesh said that Praggu never aspired the youngest GM title but always concentrated on ways to improve his game. Nevertheless, now India would certainly have high hopes from this child prodigy and would be keeping a close eye on his performance in the future games.

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