Mother support behind R Praggnanandhaa's meteoric rise, believes father Rameshbabu

Mother support behind R Praggnanandhaa's meteoric rise, believes father Rameshbabu

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One of the most memorable moments of GM R Praggnanandhaa's incredible performance at the current World Cup Chess in Baku has been the twinkle in R Nagalakshmi's eyes and her disarming smile as she stood in a corner of the room and watched her son dominate the war of 64 squares.

The renowned Gary Kasparov, who recognised the Indian GM's mother's role as being similar to his own playing days, helped the 18-year-old Praggnanandhaa achieve the summit clash with the great five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen.

The joy that could be seen clearly on Nagalakshmi's face following Praggnanandhaa's victory over Arjun Ergaisi won't be forgotten any time soon, just as the image of a young Grandmaster named Viswanthan Anand playing chess while swinging on a swing with his mother Sushila did three and a half decades ago.

"I must credit my wife, who accompanies them to tournaments and is very supportive. She takes great care (of the two)," said Rameshbabu, his father.

"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."  As a matter of fact, Vaishali, a WGM, is one of the most well-known young players on the world stage.

"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 often communicates with his wife and children, after Praggnanandhaa's triumph over world No. 3 Fabiano Caruana in a drawn-out match, he was unable to do so. "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 thinks that Praggnanandhaa was improving with time as seen by his continuous victories over world-class players like Carlsen, Nakamura, and Caruana.

Despite facing one of the greatest players of all time, Carlsen, Rameshbabu is optimistic that his son would repeat his online successes over the Norwegian in on-board matches.

"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.

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