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Mother deserves all credit for Praggnanandhaa's success: Father Rameshbabu

The glint in R Nagalakshmi's eyes and that disarming smile standing in a corner of a room while watching her son ace the battle of 64 squares has been the most photogenic moments at Chess World Cup

R Praggnanandhaa

R Praggnanandhaa with his mother. Photo: @photochess

Press Trust of India Chennai

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The glint in R Nagalakshmi's eyes and that disarming smile standing in a corner of a room while watching her son ace the battle of 64 squares has been one of the most photogenic moments of GM R Praggnanandhaa's dream run during the ongoing World Cup Chess in Baku.
The 18-year-old Praggnanandhaa, who has reached the summit clash featuring legendary five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen, had none other than the iconic Gary Kasparov, acknowledging the Indian GM's mother's role, which was akin to his own playing days.
The Indian sporting scenario is replete with examples of parents, who have had massive influence in shaping their children's career.
Just like three and half decades back, the photograph of a young Grandmaster named Viswanthan Anand, playing chess while seated on a swing with his mother Sushila, left a lasting impression, the satisfaction that was writ large on Nagalakshmi's face after Praggnanandhaa win over Arjun Ergaisi won't be forgotten in a hurry either.
"I must credit my wife, who accompanies them to tournaments and is very supportive. She takes great care (of the two)," Rameshbabu, the proud father told PTI during an interaction from his Chennai residence.
A bank employee, Rameshbabu never had too much idea about chess before he decided that his children, daughter Vaishali and son Praggnanandhaa needs to cut down on watching television.
"We had introduced Vaishali to chess so as to cut down on her TV viewing habits as a child. As it happened, the two children liked the game and decided to pursue it," Rameshbabu recalled. "We are happy that the two are enjoying playing chess and also doing well thanks to their passion for chess."

For the record, Vaishali, a WGM is also one of the most reputed young players in the international circuit.
"Though I don't know much about the game, I have been following his progress in the tournament keenly. I can't be more proud of Pragg's (that's how he refers to his son) performance," said Rameshbabu.
While he talks to his wife and son everyday, he didn't get a chance after Praggnanandhaa's victory over world No. 3 Fabiano Caruana in a marathon match.
"I talk to him (Pragg) and my wife (Nagalakshmi) regularly. But, I could not speak yesterday. He must have been tired after the marathon match against Caruana. I am very happy that he was able beat a top player like Caruana in a tense match," an elated father said.
He believes that Praggnanandhaa's consistent performances over the global stars like Carlsen, Nakamura, Caruana, meant that he was getting better with passage of time.
Carlsen, one of the all-time great, will be a formidable opponent but Rameshbabu is confident that his son will be replicate his online victories over the Norwegian during on-board games.
"I never interfere with his chess...It is the job of his coach...I just tell him to eat properly and keep himself healthy," said Rameshbabu, like every concerned parent.
Meanwhile, Praggnanandhaa first coach S Thyagarajan, who runs Bloom Chess Academy in the city, is overjoyed at the player's phenomenal rise.
"He (Praggnanandhaa) came to me when he was four-and-a-half years old and his sister (Vaishali) was 7. I knew back then that he was a special talent. He was very quick to grasp things," he said of his ward, who became a GM at the age of 12 years, 10 months and 13 days in June 2018.
He recalled that Praggnanandhaa won the under-7 nationals before he claimed the state under-9 crown at a tender age and there has been no looking back since.
"I am very proud to say I coached him. Both Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali used to work very hard and the results are there to see. They used to train at the academy for hours and then go back home and play and work again...," Thyagarajan added.
He also had a word of praise for the chess playing duo's parents, saying that they supported them to the hilt even in difficult times, probably recognising their talent and it is now paying off.
"I am hoping Pragg beats Carlsen in the (world cup) final and achieves bigger things in his career. He is a lovely lad," he signed off.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 22 2023 | 5:24 PM IST

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