Praggnanandhaa: Chess is expensive, players need support from corporate sponsors  

Tamil Nadu-based chess grandmaster Praggnanandhaa said participating in top-tier international tournaments could be quite expensive.

ByPTI | Neena

Published May 10, 2024 | 8:21 PMUpdatedMay 10, 2024 | 8:22 PM

Chess Grand Master Praggnanandhaa from Tamil Nadu

India’s young Chess Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa on Friday, 10 May, underscored the importance of corporate sponsors in the sport. The 18-year-old who recently competed for the first time in the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Candidates tournament said, “Chess training may look easy and cheap but it’s an expensive sport due to all the travel and paraphernalia.”

“That’s why I am grateful for the support (from Adani Group). The training camps cost a lot,” he added.

Praggnanandhaa rose rapidly in the last couple of years and has beaten some of the best in the business, including Magnus Carlsen.

Elaborating on the financial difficulties that come in the way of participating in international tournaments, the Chennaite said, “It can get hard to participate in top-tier international tournaments because they can be quite expensive. My parents were facing financial issues before I got my first sponsor. It was difficult because my sister was also playing and travelling.”

Praggnanandhaa’s elder sister, R Vaishali also contested in this year’s FIDE, in the Women’s category and finished as joint runner-up.

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The difficulties that players face

“You need to be ready for long tournaments because playing 14 games isn’t easy. Keeping focus throughout is something we are working on. When you have to play one game for 5-6 hours, it’s very tiring to concentrate and takes a lot of energy,” said the Grandmaster.

Unfazed in light of his recent loss to D Gukesh in the FIDE tournament, he said, “The experience was good. It is a big tournament where the pressure is huge. In terms of the result, I played better than I scored. I must learn from what went wrong and focus on future tournaments,”.

Praggnanandhaa has a packed calendar starting with the ongoing Rapid and Blitz Poland, after which he will compete in the Superbet Romania classical tournament and the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz and he is optimistic about having a successful season. 

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