In a sudden death tie-break on Thursday, Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa defeated fellow countryman Arjun Erigaisi 5-4 to advance to the FIDE World Cup semifinals in Baku, Azerbaijan. His mother, Nagalakshmi, was overcome with emotion as her son became the second Indian, after Viswanathan Anand, to advance to the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Her mother’s face was covered in happy tears as her son made history.
The emotional moments were photographed by the photographers, and the board game enthusiasts instantly fell in love with these images.
“It’s definitely good to have someone here,” Praggnanandhaa said to ChessBase India when asked about his mother Nagalakshmi watching his live games. My mother has always been encouraging! She didn’t care about winning or losing; she just wanted to calm me down. It’s helpful to have someone on your side in this situation, and for me, my mother has been a huge support for both my sister and me.
In the meantime, the victory guaranteed the 17-year-old Praggnanandhaa a place in the Candidates competition the following year. The American ace Fabiano Caruana will now play the Indian prodigy in the semifinal.
Apart from Viswanathan Anand, a five-time world champion, the young man from Chennai will be the only other Indian to participate in the Candidates.
Praggnanandhaa was given a bye in the first round before defeating Maxime Lagarde and David Navara in the second and third rounds, respectively.