The Chennai-based youngster made the third and final norm in style by winning the ninth and concluding round of the Fourth International Chess Festival ad Gredine Open at Ortisei, Italy.
Prodigy R. Praggnanandhaa, who missed out on the chance to become the game’s youngest-ever Grandmaster in March this year, completed the technical formalities to become the world’s youngest GM at present, and the second youngest on the all-time list.
On Sunday, the Chennai-based youngster made the third and final norm in style by winning the ninth and concluding round of the Fourth International ChessFestival ad Gredine Open at Ortisei, Italy.
Tying for title
Praggu, as he is fondly called by his coach and mentor GM R.B. Ramesh, defeated Dutch GM Roeland Pruijssers in 40 moves to tie for the title with Croatia’s Ivan Saric at 7.5 points before settling for the second spot.
After beating Italian Luca Moroni Jr. in the eighth round, Praggnanandhaa had to wait for the final-round pairing to know whether he had already done enough to make the final norm or needed at least a draw on Sunday.
Had Praggnanandhaa faced a player below the rating of 2485 in the final round, he would have required at least half a point more. As it turned out, the pairing with Pruijssers, rated 2514, meant even a defeat would not have hurt the youngster’s norm prospects. With the pressure off, Praggnanandhaa demolished the Dutchman.
As things stand, at 12 years, 10 months and 13 days, Praggnanandhaa is now behind record-holder Sergey Karjakin in the all-time list. Karjakin, the only other under-13 GM in the game, accomplished the feat in 2002 — three years before Praggnanandhaa was born!
Thus, Praggnanandhaa emulated compatriot Parimarjan Negi who achieved a similar distinction on July 1, 2006, at the age of 13 years, four months and 22 days. Interestingly, at that time, Pragnanandhaa was only 318 days old!
For the record, the world’s youngest International Master Praggnanandhaa made his first GM norm in the World junior championship in Tarvisio (Italy) in November 2017. The second norm took time and eventually came in the Fischer memorial in Heraklion (Greece) in April this year.