Chennai: India's R Praggnanandhaa has become the country's youngest and the world's second youngest Grand Master. He is just 12 years, 10 months and 13 days old and has earned his third GM norm during the Gredine Open in Italy.
The Chennai-based player was paired with Grand Master Prujjsers Roland in the final round, which ensured that he would achieve the feat. After beating GM Moroni Lica Jr in the eighth round, he needed to play an opponent above rating of 2482 in the next round to make his third GM norm.
Ukraine's Sergey Karjakin remains the youngest ever GM, having achieved the title at the age of 12 years, seven months in 2002. Back in 2016, Praggnanandhaa became the youngest International Master when he was just 10 years, 10 months and 19 days old.
Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, who is also the country's first GM, congratulated Praggnanandhaa. He tweeted:
Welcome to the club & congrats Praggnanandhaa!! See u soon in chennai?— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) June 24, 2018
RB Ramesh, Praggnanandhaa's coach at Chess Gurukul in Chennai, described it as a fantastic achievement.
BIG Relief! Congratulations @rpragchess . Great inspiration personally working with you! He travels an hour each way to attend lessons. Great commitment from the parents. Thanks to sponsors Ramco and Mr. Venkaraman Raja too!— Ramesh RB (@Rameshchess) June 23, 2018
Praggnanandhaa's father A Ramesh Babu said, "I am overjoyed. He has put in a lot of hard work. Credit goes to my wife, who accompanies him to tournament and is very supportive. Due must be given to coach (Ramesh sir)."
Praggnanandhaa's sister Vaishali is also a WIM and has won the world under-14 and 12 titles previously.