Test your chess with world's youngest IM R. Praggnanandhaa
by Sagar Shah - 10 June 2017
It's almost a year since R. Praggnanandhaa became the youngest IM in the world. He has now raced up to a rating of 2467 at the age of 11 years and 10 months! How talented is this young boy? How fast does he calculate? And what are the techniques that he uses while thinking on the board. Sagar Shah had those same questions and he travelled to Chennai to visit Pragg's house. He had selected ten not so easy positions to test the little wonder! At the end of the show, he was simply amazed. It's your chance to test your chess against the biggest chess talent in the world. Are you ready?!
9th ChessBase India show with Praggnanandhaa
On 4th of June I visited Praggnanandhaa's house in Chennai to do the 9th ChessBase India show with the boy. Q&A with the lad was not going to be interesting. He speaks very little and in general you want the 11-year-old to do stuff that he does the best - i.e play chess or calculate chess positions.
I collected ten interesting positions from my collection and decided to test the world's youngest IM. I had the feeling that the positions were quite tough and getting someone to solve it within an hour would not be easy. I was wrong! Pragg breezed through the positions in just 35 minutes! I will write about what impressed me most about this young talent in another article.
For now I would like to share these ten positions with you. If you are not in the mood to do chess right now, come back again. But do try your hand at solving these positions. The reason is very simple - when you solve them and note down the time it took for you to get the answer, you can check out how Praggnanandhaa did from the video download given at the end of this article. I don't believe in comparing two chess players with each other, but knowing where you stand vis-a-vis the biggest chess talent in the world is an exciting prospect!
The ten positions:
Position 1: This is an easy one to start off with! White to play. Pragg was able to crack it quite easily.
Position 2: White to play and draw. Not terribly difficult for Pragg, but it did make him think a bit!
Position 3: Black to play. I thought that the number of pieces on the board would be good enough to confuse the boy, but I wasn't successful!
Position 4: White to play. This was the toughest one to solve for Praggnanandhaa. So here's your chance to beat him!
Position 5: White to play and draw. This is a tricky study, but Pragg was able to solve it quickly. He said later that he had seen some similar patterns before.
Position 6: White to play and draw. Black pawns look menacing, but White has a few tricks up his sleeve. Pragg was able to zoom in on the most important variation very quickly. Can you do the same?
Position 7: Black to play. It's a famous game of Botvinnik. This one was not so easy for Pragg to solve. He got the initial idea quickly, but the follow up took some time.
Position 8: Can a tactic be hidden in such a normal position? Well there is one, and Pragg was able to find it without too many difficulties. Black to play.
Position 9: I had forgotten to remove the moves from this one and Pragg was able to see the answer. But you have the chance to solve it. It's White to play.
Position 10: The final one! White to play and mate in six. I was sure that Pragg would not be able to solve this one. But he surprised me, by getting the answer within three minutes! It was just unbelievable.
All I could do was bow down to this young boy's calculations! Yes, really I am bowing down!
At the end of these ten positions Pragg shows us his nice win over GM Allan Stig Rasmussen from the last round of the Hastings 2016-17. It helped him finish third in the tournament. Seeing the game you will understand a lot about how Pragg approaches a game of chess. Not really caring for opening preparation, confident that he can outplay his opponents in the ensuing middlegame complications!
Procedure to watch the show:
Buy the above product. It's free of cost, so you will not need to make any payments. All you have to do is enter a few details (name, email id, address etc.). Once you have bought the show, the download files will be sent to your registered email address. After downloading the files, you must open the wmv file in your local ChessBase copy (I have a ChessBase 14, you might have a ChessBase 10, 11, 12 or 13!) If you do not have a local ChessBase on your computer, you can install the ChessBase reader that comes along with the downloads and open the wmw file in it.
The above download is only for people from eight countries (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia). That's because the ChessBase India shop is open for only these eight countries. If you are not from the above eight nations and would like to watch the show, you can do so, provided you are a ChessBase Account Premium member.