Phenomenal knowledge and skill: Praggnanandhaa turns 15

by Sagar Shah
8/22/2020 – On August 10, Praggnanandhaa turned 15 years old. On that day he received a message by IM Sagar Shah: "Would you like to test yourself today?" Without hesitation Pragg agreed. Normal 15-year-old kids would prefer to have a party or spend time with their friends on their birthday. But Pragg is different. He is ready to give up all that if he can spend some time learning a new trick or two on the chessboard. And, so the test began! Fifteen positions were solved in less than an hour. It turned out to be a tremendous test — give it a go! | Photo: Leon Masters website

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A prodigy turns 15

10th of August is a special day in Indian chess. Three of our grandmasters celebrate their birthdays on the same day — R. Praggnanandhaa, Magesh Chandran and Diptayan Ghosh. The youngest of the three, Pragg, turned 15 years old. He is one of the biggest talents in the world of chess, with an Elo of 2608. In 2019, at the age of 14, he already became the World Under-18 Champion.

How can one be so good at chess? Well, there are a number of factors that go into making of a champion, but if we had to pinpoint one of them, it would definitely be the fact that Pragg never wants to stop learning. What do we mean by that? On his 15th birthday, I messaged Pragg and wished him a very happy birthday. I asked him if he would like to solve 15 chess positions on his birthday, and he instantly agreed! "It's a challenge, and I am excited to learn something new!", was what Pragg mentioned!

Always up for a challenge — Little Pragg! Photo: Niki Riga

And so, at 8:30 in the night I prepared a mix of not so tough and really tough chess positions to test the little master. These 15 positions are given below and you can try your hand at solving them. Once you are done, go over the video, where Pragg tries to solve these positions, along with a timer! We are sure that you will learn a lot from this entire experience.

Test your chess with Pragg

Position 1


This position is taken from the foreword of the book "For Friends and Colleagues" by Mark Dvoretsky. The foreword is written by Artur Yusupov.

Position 2


Position 3


Position 4


Position 5


Position 6


Position 7


Position 8


Position 9


Position 10


Study composed by Shiv Shome (a talented Indian youngster).

Position 11


Position 12


Position 13


Position 14


Position 15


Position 16

Although Pragg had turned 15, and we had promised that we would be giving him only 15 positions, the fact that he had known some of the positions beforehand made us give him a couple more!


Position 17

After solving 16 positions, the test was completed. I asked Pragg if he would like to solve one more position? Pragg agreed. I picked up a book at hand. This one was "Maneuvering - the art of piece play" by Mark Dvoretsky. I randomly opened a page and this was the position that popped up.



Check out this video as Pragg not only gets all the positions correctly solved, but you also get to see the youngster's thought process. Some of the studies selected from the above positions were already known to Pragg. It's a good reminder to us that on his 16th birthday we have to prepare more meticulously for his test!

Grandmaster calculations by GM R. Praggnanandhaa | Video: Sagar Shah

Wishing Pragg a very happy birthday and hoping that he performs up to his potential at the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad from the 21st to the 23rd of August 2020.


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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