Chess World Cup prodigy returns to India to rousing welcome
Indian chess grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, who won a silver medal in FIDE World Cup 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Wednesday received a rousing welcome on his arrival at the Chennai Airport.
Outside the Airport, students were ween waiving the tricolour and some of them were holding banners of 'World Cup Runner Up' to welcome the Indian prodigy.
India's Chess prodigy, R Praggnanandhaa, who made the entire nation proud with his exploits, mentioned that he 'felt really great.'
"It feels really great. I think it is good for Chess," the Indian chess grandmaster told the reporters.
After returning to Chennai, Praggnanandhaa said, "I am very happy to see so many people coming here and it is good for Chess."
All India Chess Federation representatives and State Government representatives were at the airport to welcome India's rising star return to the country.
Praggnanandhaa's sister Vaishali was elated to see the kind of welcome her brother had received at the airport.
"I had witnessed something like this 10 years back, when Viswanathan (Anand) sir had won World Championship match. He had a fantastic welcome. We went to the airport actually to welcome him. It's amazing to see that Pragg is getting the same love from all the people," she said.
In the FIDE World Cup final match, Praggnanandhaa put up a stellar performance against World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen. However, Carlsen defeated Praggnanandhaa to clinch the title of the International Chess Federation World Cup and the Indian chess grandmaster had to settle for the position of runner-up of the 2023 FIDE World Cup. The 18-year-old Indian will draw 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-breaker with black pieces and managed to hold on for a draw in the second game with white pieces. Praggnanandhaa fought hard but fell short with Carlsen summoning all his big match experience when it mattered the most. Earlier Praggnanandhaa and Carlsen drew two games of Classical Chess.
The 2024 Candidates Tournament will be an eight-player chess tournament scheduled to be held from April 2 to April 25, 2024 in Toronto, Canada. The winner of the tournament will become the challenger for the 2024 World Chess Championship match.
Praggnanandhaa had an excellent tournament where he defeated World No. 2 Hikaru Nakamura in a tie-breaker while reaching the final defeating World No. 3 Fabiano Caruana.