Praggnanandhaa, India’s 16-year-old superstar-in-the-making, has become the first confirmed name for the 2022 Tour.
The youngster booked his place in the next season of elite online chess run by Play Magnus Group with a stunning win in the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour.
Pragg, as he is known, scored 8.5/9 to dominate the event designed to give bright young talent a platform.
He picked up $12,500 in prize money and a guaranteed spot against the best of world chess in next year’s senior Tour – a result he was overjoyed with.
“I’m just very excited to play in the Meltwater next season,” said Praggnanandhaa.
Congrats🙌— Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) October 17, 2021
Chess legend Vladimir Kramnik, Pragg’s team captain in the event, said the youngster will take to the Meltwater with ease.
“First of all, he’s improving all the time and there is still some time before this event. With this level of play, he’s already definitely a very serious force and can challenge many players there.
“I’m sure he’s going to improve by then. I think he will just be not worse than any other player, that he totally belongs to this tour, so I’m really interested to see how he’s going to do there, but I’m sure he’s going to do well.”
Pragg has already dipped his toes into the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour having played in the New In Chess Classic in April. He qualified for that having won the Polgar Challenge event.
Pragg played 15 games in the prelim stage of the New In Chess Classic, scoring 4 wins, but was eliminated before the knockout stages. World Champion Magnus Carlsen was the eventual winner.
The Julius Baer Challenger Chess Tour featured several young stars who may also graduate to the Meltwater.