CHENNAI: The countdown has begun for Chennai chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa. In his quest to become the youngest Grandmaster (GM) ever, Praggnanandhaa, who is 12 years and three months old, has embarked on a global journey which will see him compete in three GM norm tournaments in Australia, Sweden and USA in a span of 45 days.
Out of the three tournaments, Praggnanandhaa, who accomplished his first GM norm last month in Italy, will look to achieve two more GM norms before March 2018 to break the world record. Russia's Sergey Karjakin holds the record for being the youngest GM at 12 years and seven months in 2002. In 2016, Praggu became the youngest International Master at 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days.
And his journey began on a high in Australia on Saturday when he defeated GM Ly Moulthun in the first round of the 2017 Lidums Australian Young Masters GM Norm Event.
A Ramesh Babu, Praggu's father, said his son has raised the expectation levels in India and is hopeful the 12-year-old will accomplish the goal. "He has started well in Australia. The next two months will be crucial for him. He will be back to India mid-December and then will leave for Sweden and from there to USA. All three competitions give him an opportunity to achieve the world record as he would face higher-rated opponents. There is a lot of hype surrounding him now. But I'm confident that he will give his best," Babu told TOI on Saturday.