This 16-year-old chess grandmaster has just surprised the world No.
What were you doing at 16? Either way, it probably wasn’t “beating the best chess player in the world” – but it’s a feat Indian grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa can now claim.
The Chennai-born prodigy, who often goes by just ‘Pragg’, took on world chess champion Magnus Carlsen in the online tournament Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2022, and – despite a losing streak – beat the kingpin Norwegian in 39 moves (while playing black, no less).
Pragg is the fifth youngest person to achieve the rank of grandmaster, which he achieved at just 12 years, 10 months, and 13 days; he is also the youngest ever international master, and now the third Indian player to beat Carlsen in any time format.
Indian sports legends such as Carlsen killer chess star Viswanathan Anand and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar have praised Pragg, who told India’s international news network WION he was very happy to compete against the best players.
“I was very happy to win against the world champion, and it gives me a huge confidence and (a) boost in general”, he said.
For his part, Carlsen blamed the shock loss in part on the aftermath of another epic fight – with COVID-19.
“It was pretty bad. I played a few decent matches, but the others were mediocre. I have to do much better than that.
“The first few days I felt like I was fine, but I didn’t have the energy, which made it hard for me to concentrate because every time I tried to think, I blundered.” he said.
If so, maybe the rest of us have a chance too…