Anand is with him
Former world champion Viswanathan Anand from Chennai is regarded as the father of the Indian chess boom, the one who triggered the unbroken enthusiasm for the mental sport in his homeland. It was only logical that Praggnanandhaa (who has the "anand" in his name) was nicknamed the "Second Anand" when he first caused a major international stir in the 2016 championship tournament on the Isle of Man. At the age of eleven he easily swept the established grandmaster Axel Bachmann off the board.
“Praggu," as he is affectionately known at home, also shares his origins with the great Indian champion – and with his colleague Gukesh, who is a year younger and who is also competing in Dusseldorf: They all come from Chennai, where the school has promoted their chess. The connection between school and chess as a school sport only became established in Praggnanandhaa's home country when Anand had become a superstar there. Without this groundwork, blitz careers like Praggnanandhaa's or Gukesh's would not have been possible.
A chess book for little Pragg
Praggnanandhaa became a world traveler in chess at an early age, a well accompanied and sheltered traveler. Mother Nagalakshmi was always and continues to be by his side most of the time, as well as his sister Vaishali, four years his senior, one of India's best female players with an Elo of 2454. Praggnanandhaa owes most of his interest in chess to Vaishali. As a toddler, he often disturbed her during practice, so the parents decided to put a chess book in little Pragg's hand as well.
Today, at 17, Praggnanandhaa is one of the outstanding teenagers in world chess who are preparing to knock on the door at the top.