How the world reacted to Praggnanandhaa’s silver medal finish at World Cup 2023
The world of chess recently witnessed something that had not been seen for many years. The 18-year-old chess sensation, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, recently became the first Indian after Vishy Anand to reach the finals of the FIDE World Cup. It was a historic day for India, as one day after Chandrayaan’s landing on the moon, Pragg was already writing history with his chess moves. He faced world no. 1. Magnus Carlsen in the finals and lost to him, claiming a silver medal in the end. Many would say that it was a sad ending to a rather beautiful fairy tale, but it wasn’t. Not only did Pragg write history, but he also made a place for himself in the hearts of millions of Indians. Read the full article to get a glimpse of how the world reacted to Pragg’s victory.
One thing that we Indians are known for and are proud of is our unity. Any event happens, and everyone in our country, regardless of their caste, gender, religion, or educational background, will collectively support and cheer for it. We have witnessed this for many years now, be it a cricket match, Chandrayaan-2's failed attempt in 2019, Chandrayaan-3’s success this year, or Praggnanandhaa’s amazing play in the World Cup. We support each of our kind, celebrate their success, and offer them a shoulder to lay on in their grief. Events like this unify us; we are Indians above all, and that was clear when the whole world witnessed the magical play of Pragg in the World Cup. Although Pragg lost the finals against Magnus Carlsen, the whole world cheered for him. With this performance, he has booked a spot in the Candidates. Let's have a look at how the world reacted to Pragg's performance.
Anand Mahindra, the chairperson of Mahindra group, was a big reason why the Global Chess League was held recently; it was a huge step in the world of chess and instrumental towards taking the game to the next level. He has been following the sport for a long time now and was recently amazed by Praggnanandhaa’s play. Therefore, he took to Twitter to announce that he will gift Pragg's parents a Mahindra XUV400 electric SUV. The car is nearly worth Rs.16 to 20 lakhs. Praggnanandhaa expressed his gratitude towards him by thanking him for the generous gift.
The number of people who followed the Chess World Cup 2023 was huge. If this was not so evident while the games were played, its ripple effect was clearly visible when Praggnanandhaa came back to India. He was received with a warm welcome from his fans at Chennai airport, who greeted him with flowers, bouquets, and shawls. Praggnanandhaa himself was floored by this and appreciated people’s kind gestures. This is something that every player dreams of.
Pragg's amazing feat did not go unnoticed in the world of politics as well, as Tamil Nadu CM Stalin felicitated Pragg. After coming back, Pragg along with his mother and father, went to meet the CM and Sports Minister Udayanidhi Stalin. The CM handed Praggnanandhaa a memento and a cheque for 30 lakhs.
Later on, Praggnanandhaa and his parents were also felicitated by Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur as well.
A couple of days after he returned to India, Pragg got the chance to meet Prime Minister Narendra Mo who congratulated him for making India proud and spent 15 minutes with him.
It's not just about being recognised by the higher-ups or winning the game; what this young boy has managed to do is something that Indian chess has not witnessed in a long time. He managed to make the whole county root for him. Everyone, whether or not they play or follow chess, knew about this highly talented lad and rooted for him. The cabin crew from his Indigo flight from Doha to Chennai showered him with a heartfelt gesture. They presented him with a note that read, "Dear Praggnanandhaa, it is truly an honour and our pleasure to fly you on board with us today. You are the pride of the nation. You have made our country so proud. We wish and pray that you achieve many more like this. You are truly an inspiration for all of us. Keep your game up and keep inspiring." It was signed by the captains and the cabin crew of the flight.
During the World Cup, the picture that went viral all over the world was of Praggnanandhaa’s mother, Nagalakshmi. She is a pillar of support in the lives of both her children, and she does her best to make sure that they have nothing to worry about, apart from focusing on the game.
Sagar caught up with Pragg's mother later, talked to her about her son's achievement. A fun game was played where Nagalakshmi was asked to choose between Pragg or Vaishali.
A lot of people have asked Pragg about the reception and reactions that he has received after his performance at the World Cup. The boy has maintained his poise and has always responded with great humility. Apart from being amazed at all the love and support he has received, Pragg mentions that he is very happy that the game of chess is growing thanks to his victories! Pragg is just 18 years old and what just happened with him after Baku was unbelievable. This could have been quite overwhelming for some, but the way Pragg handles the press, media and fans, shows what a wonderful young man he is!
Some tweets about Praggnanandhaa's triumph
If you would like to know more about Praggnanandhaa, you can check out this detailed article written on ChessBase India about his entire journey: The life story of Praggnanandhaa in 120 pictures: From a talent to a Candidate