Tamil Nadu: Indian chess sensation R Praggnanandhaa, who recently made history by securing the silver medal in the prestigious 2023 FIDE World Cup and earning a coveted spot in the FIDE Candidates tournament, was greeted with a grand and enthusiastic reception upon his arrival at the airport on Wednesday.
— ANI (@ANI) August 30, 2023
Officials from the state sports department were on hand to welcome the prodigious 18-year-old chess prodigy as he disembarked from his flight. Throngs of devoted fans gathered at the airport exit, extending their affection by presenting him with a crown of flowers, a traditional shawl, and vibrant bouquets. As Praggnanandhaa made his way through the adoring crowd, petals of flowers were lovingly strewn along his path. In a true display of Tamil Nadu’s rich culture, artists performed Karagattam and Oyilattam, traditional folk dances, in his honour.
Praggnanandhaa took a moment to absorb the excitement, observing the media personnel gathered around his vehicle. He graciously commented, “I am very happy over the reception,” as he proudly accepted the national tricolour flag and waved it to the cheering crowd.
Equally delighted by the grand reception was Praggnanandhaa’s mother, Nagalakshmi, who expressed her joy at the warm welcome her 18-year-old son received.
The young Indian Grandmaster’s remarkable journey at the FIDE World Cup came to an end when he faced off against the reigning world champion, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. Although the classical games ended in a draw, Carlsen eventually emerged victorious, defeating Praggnanandhaa 1.5-0.5 in the tie-breaker at Baku, Azerbaijan, on August 24.
Despite the final outcome, Praggnanandhaa’s historic achievement resonated deeply with the dreams of India’s 1.4 billion people. Chief Minister M. K. Stalin had praised the young chess sensation, congratulating him for clinching the silver medal and securing a spot in the prestigious FIDE Candidates tournament.
Praggnanandhaa hails from a family deeply rooted in the world of chess. His elder sister, R. Vaishali, is a two-time youth chess champion, and his parents, Rameshbabu, a manager at the TNSC Bank, and Nagalakshmi, have served as a great source of inspiration and support throughout his extraordinary chess journey.