Abu Dhabi: Ramesh Babu Praggnanandhaa is not easily noticed, as the diminutive Indian child is not the type to attract attention.
Only days ago, Babu, who was born in 2005, seemed to be one of millions of ordinary Indian children his age, but in fact he is so special that last week he was crowned Under-8 Chess World Champion in both the standard and Blitz formats at the championships in Al Ain. The youngster won all his matches in both competitions, showing outstanding brain capacity that proved his great potential to be a star in the near future.
And while India can boast of the brilliant achievements of their young boys and girls in the 13th World Youth Chess Championships — they won eight standard play medals including three golds to top the standings — they can particularly brag about Babu’s outstanding record.
Babu, with an 1852 FIDE rating, played 11 matches in the Open Under-8 competition and won them all with a record 11 points. He also won all seven Blitz matches he played and was the only one of 1,850 competitors in all the age categories to finish with a 100 per cent record.
Babu opened his campaign by beating Iraq’s Hakar Salah in the first round and he never looked back from there, adding more and more scalps from different countries to his list of victims. They included: Oskar Oglaza from Poland, Seyed Kian from Iran, Miguel Angel Wang from Hong Kong, Anthony He from the US, Gadwal Vilok Veeresh from India, Joshua Bezuidenhout from South Africa, Isik Can from Turkey, who won the silver medal, and Andrei Tcvetkov from Russia.
Babu is already looking forward to competing in Durban, South Africa, in the next edition of the tournament later this year and is hoping to achieve the same success in the Under-10 Open competitions.
The child who arrived in the UAE earlier this month as an ordinary boy of eight, has returned home as a World Champion and everyone in India will recognise him now.