It was just another normal day in Chess Gurukul in T Nagar, where Grandmaster RB Ramesh and wife Aarthie Ramesh train the best talents in the country. But three of their wards were busy hogging the limelight in Tarvisio (Italy) in the World Junior Chess Championship.
Aravindh Chithambaram, an 18-year-old B Com student of SRM, missed the title on tie-break but he had secured a significant breakthrough in world chess at the right time in his career. Aravindh had finished second to Karthikeyan Murali in the last two National championships after taking initial lead. But in Tarvisio, he had lost the first round and made fast progress in the next 10 rounds to score 8.5 points.
Hailed as the next big talent from Tamil Nadu after Viswanathan Anand, Aravindh was in the news in 2011 when he came to Chennai from Madurai as a 11-year-old to play in the World Junior Championship. Though he did not figure anywhere in the top in that event, he won the hearts of the chess public with his occasional sparks in the games.
He grew in stature in the next four years and won the GM norms regularly to pocket the GM title too when he was 16 to become one of the youngest Grandmasters in the country.
‘He moved to Chennai after the World junior in 2011 and trained with me,” recalled Ramesh. “He studied at Velammal School before joining SRM. In fact, Praggnanandhaa too is a Velammal product,” added the coach.
“I am happy for the kids,” commented Ramesh. “For me, Aravindh has scored 8.5 points from 10 rounds not 11 because his first round was a disaster. He is a player of swinging moods. This was more so when he was younger but he has matured now,” added Ramesh.
“I was apprehensive when he lost his first round. However, the limelight was on Praggnanandhaa so there was no pressure on him,” noted the Grandmaster.
For Praggnanandhaa, it was a memorable championship. He could have walked into history as the world’s youngest Grandmaster at 12 if he had won his last-round game Rasmus but now he has only a norm. But as Ramesh said he should keep working harder and expand his chess knowledge in all aspects of the game.
After all, sky is the limit for the Chennai boy.
World Junior Final Standings
1.Tari Aryan (Norway) 8.5
2. Manual Petrosyan (Armenia) 8.5
3. Aravindh Chithambaram (Ind) 8.5
4. R Praggnanandhaa (Ind) 8
5. Van Foreest Jorden (Ned) 8
6. Alekey Sorokin (Russia) 8
7. Karthikeyan Murali (Ind) 8