"Aiming to become world champion in 3-4 years," says R Praggnanandhaa
R Praggnanandhaa believes becoming a world champion is a realistic possibility and has given himself three to four years to achieve the feat.
Chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa believes becoming a world champion is a realistic possibility and has given himself three to four years to achieve the feat. One of the country's youngest grandmasters, the 17-year-old defeated world champion Magnus Carlsen thrice in just six months, something that will go down as one of the highlights of his career.
Recently, he played his best match of the Meltwater Chess Champions Tour Finals, beating Polish GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda.
"Yes, my ultimate dream and goal is to become world number one and world chess champion, and I think it can be achievable in the next three to four years," Praggnandhaa told PTI before leaving for Rashtrapati Bhawan to receive the Arjuna Award on Wednesday.
"I do not think it should take a long time. If I continue to play well and be in the right direction then it is a realistically possible."
During the Meltwater Chess Champions Tour Finals, Praggnanandhaa and reigning world champion Carlsen chose to play chess near the iconic Bay Bridge in San Francisco.
"Yes I have been in very good form of late. And I am playing consistently well. I deserve the Arjuna Award. I don't think the award has come at a very early stage. It's a recognition for the efforts. It's good for the sport. I hope the award will help me motivate further to achieve greater heights and will also motivate other chess players," he said.
Praggnanandhaa, the youngest player to defeat reigning world chess champion Carlson, believes he needs to play higher ranked players to achieve his goal.
"I plan to play higher ranked players. I need to select the top international championships. I have to improve my ELO ratings as well. Yes, a lot of tasks at hand but as I said, they are realistically possible."
He said that former world champion Viswanathan Anand has been a constant source of inspiration.
"Anand sir is the first person to tell me that I can become a world champion one day. I want to prove that right. I am getting all the help and support from him. I am sure my game is improving with each passing day."
He said he has harboured only one ambition: to be the best in the world.
"I have channelised all my energies in one direction. But that does not mean that I have shut down my other faculties. I do a lot of reading and I am aware of current affairs. But yes, chess is my life, my passion, my everything."
When asked about any area that he needs to improve, he said he plans to try a few new things but won't disclose them at this stage.
"The game of chess is all about rediscovering new things, newer openings, mid position play and I will try to improve and improvise them."