The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu
Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Full name
Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu
Aug 10, 2005 (age 18)‎
Place of birth
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India



GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu is an Indian grandmaster who had one of the greatest youth careers in chess history. Praggnanandhaa, who only turned 18 years old in 2023, is one of the youngest grandmasters and world championship candidates ever. He is the first of a historic quartet of contemporary young Indian players—that also includes GMs Gukesh D, Arjun Erigaisi, and Nihal Sarin—to qualify for the Candidates Tournament, doing so months before Gukesh qualified for the same 2024 Candidates.

The player's full name is Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu and they confirmed to that they preferred to be called by their first name, Praggnanandhaa.

Youth Achievements

Praggnanandhaa climbed his way up through the professional ranks largely in the World Youth Championships, where he won the under-8 age group in 2013 and the under-10 group in 2015. Soon after, he became an international master at age 10, the youngest ever at the time by over a year. It took him only about four months to achieve all his requirements.

Then-IM Praggnanandhaa at the 2016 London Chess Classic. Photo: Wolfgang Jekel/Wikimedia, CC.

Reasonably enough, grandmaster took a little longer. But not much longer: When Praggnanandhaa achieved the title at 12 years, 10 months, and 13 days of age, he was the second-youngest ever. As of October 2023, he is still one of only five players to become a grandmaster before becoming a teenager.

In 2019, Praggnanandhaa won the Under-18 age group at the World Youth Championships when he was not yet even 14 years old. On the November 2019 FIDE rating list that immediately followed, Praggnanandhaa's 2586 rating was 24th among juniors (age 20 and below), and no one above him was younger.

That same year, the 13-year-old prodigy also won the Xtracon Chess Open with an undefeated 8.5/10 points, overtaking a field featuring 13 GMs ranked over 2600.

Continued Development

In April 2021, Praggnanandhaa won the Polgar Challenge in the Challengers Chess Tour, which qualified him for the New In Chess Classic of the Champions Chess Tour.

Praggnanandhaa then made international headlines during the 2022 tour when he defeated GM Magnus Carlsen in the Airthings Masters tournament, becoming the youngest player to beat Carlsen in a game since he had become world champion. The year 2022 was eventful for Praggnanandhaa in other ways as well.

He received an invitation to the prestigious Tata Steel Masters tournament in January, where he won three games despite underdog status (he had the lowest rating in the field by 60 points). Praggnanandhaa then won a bronze medal with the Indian team at the 2022 FIDE Olympiad, scoring 6.5/9 on the third board for a performance rating of 2767. Later in 2022, he won the Asian Continental Chess Championship.

World Cup Breakout

In July 2023, Praggnanandhaa obtained a live 2700 rating for the first time. His amazing year continued with a second-place finish at the FIDE World Cup. After defeating GMs Maxime Lagarde and David Navara in the first two rounds, Praggnanandhaa's next challenge was #2 seed GM Hikaru Nakamura, but the youngster won the match 3-1.

After wins over GM Ferenc Berkes and close friend GM Arjun Erigaisi in the next two rounds, Praggnanandhaa next had to face #3 seed GM Fabiano Caruana in the semifinal. A 3.5-2.5 victory sent the Indian player into the final.

Praggnanandhaa during his victorious tiebreak in his semifinal match against Caruana. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Only Magnus Carlsen could stop Praggnanandhaa, who nonetheless became the youngest player to ever reach the World Cup final. It's yet another youth record Praggnanandhaa has set during his march into club of the top players. 

His performance in the World Cup, which brought him to a 2727 live rating (20th in the world), also earned him a spot in the 2024 Candidates Tournament. Praggnanandhaa is the fourth-youngest candidate in history after Carlsen, GM Bobby Fischer, and Gukesh. Praggnanandhaa ultimately finished with a 50% score in his first Candidates.

Candidates And Beyond

On the October 2023 rating list, Praggnanandhaa was ahead of several active legends, such as GMs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alexander Grischuk, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. His ceiling is even higher than what he has already achieved, and chess fans—not just of India, but also the entire world—are watching to see just how far Praggnanandhaa can go.

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