After making it to the final round in the Gredine open in Italy, R Praggnanandhaa has become second youngest grandmaster at 12 years 10 months. He comes just after the Ukrainian Sergey Karjakin who is 12 years 7 months. Hailing from the Chennai suburb of Padi, the young grandmaster is said to be nonchalant and indifferent to his achievements and failures. Since the last December, he has been travelling around the globe, playing tournaments after tournaments to win the title of the youngest grandmaster.
His family however, is more worried about their son’s lost childhood than the number of tournaments lost or won by him. His father now is easy on him at home and lets him indulge into those childhood frivolities that he was not allowed often before.
His mother, who accompanies him at his tournaments is wants him to react to his failures and successes like other children, which he never does. She also feels sorry about the pressure his son is under at such a young age. He sometimes fell asleep in the middle of the game and his opponents wait patiently for him to wake up, as he recounts.
So yes, the childhood suffers when world recognizes you as a young achiever. You are given the responsibility. You are representing a lot- your parents, your city, your country, your game. Just like childhood does not remain childhood, the game does not remain just a game, it becomes dignity, the responsibility of which your young shoulders bear. R Praggnanandhaa’s young shoulders are also bearing such responsibility.