Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave a noteworthy mention to chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa in her Interim Budget address to the Parliament on Thursday. Showering accolades upon the 18-year-old, she highlighted his commendable performance against the reigning World No. 1 champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the Chess World Cup final last year.
During the presentation of the interim budget for 2024-25, Sitharaman proudly shared that India has witnessed a substantial rise in the number of Chess Grand Masters, surpassing 80 compared to a mere 20 in 2010. She underscored India’s achievements in various sports and applauded the outstanding performances of players at the Asian Games and Asian Para Games held in 2023.
“In 2023, our nation achieved its highest-ever medal tally in the Asian Games and the Asian Para Games. Notably, chess prodigy and our top-ranked player Praggnanandhaa displayed remarkable resilience against world champion Magnus Carlsen in 2023. Today, India boasts over 80 chess grandmasters, a significant leap from just over 20 in 2010,” Sitharaman declared.
Referring to Praggnanandhaa’s notable feat, the 18-year-old narrowly missed claiming the Chess World Cup title against Carlsen in a tie-breaker during the final in Baku, Azerbaijan. Despite finishing as the runner-up, Praggnanandhaa secured his position in the prestigious Candidates Tournament, becoming only the second Indian to achieve this remarkable feat.
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