India’s second-youngest Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa, who is currently in the lead in U-18 Open category after he ended the resistance of Viachaslau Zarubitski in 63 moves to take the lead at 7.5 points, expressed his confidence of winning the World Youth Chess Championship in an exclusive interview with The Bridge.
R Praggnanandhaa, the winner of the Xtracon Open held in Copenhagen earlier this year, when asked about his excitement for the World Youth championship being hosted by India, joyfully exclaimed, “I was really excited when I first heard the news of India being the host nation. I am really excited to play in my home country, and I also want to win medals here.”
The 14-year old stated that the championship is an exceptionally tough one, saying, “This is surely challenging tournament as there are 3 Grandmasters, including myself, and many International Masters and champions of the game from around the world, competing to emerge victorious.” Regarding the highly competitive nature of the tournament, he said, “Every game played in the tournament is a difficult and competitive one. Today’s game was very interesting; yesterday’s game was also very interesting.” He gave an example of his highly intense match against Arjun Kalyan, saying, “The Anjun Kalyan game was also an exciting one. I was in a great position in that game, but I made a small mistake and lost my advantage. I still managed to emerge win.”
Being the second seed in the Under 18 category with an ELO rating of 2567, Praggnanandhaa is confident of winning the tournament. “My mental state is positive, and I am backing himself to maintain my composure, focus on my game and regain the Number 1 position to win the championship.”
Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa will battle it out today in Round 10, in a highly anticipated match which many are calling ‘the contest to watch out for’.