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Pranav Anand - The Golden Grandmaster

by Shahid Ahmed - 30/09/2022

Pranav Anand became India's 76th Grandmaster on 15th September. On the following day, he became World Youth Under-16 Open champion. A feat very few players in the world can claim, if there are any. The 15-year-old boy became Karnataka's fourth Grandmaster. He earned his maiden GM-norm at 8th Sunway Sitges Open in 2021. The teenager scored his second and third GM-norm at Vezerkepzo GM March 2022 and 55th Biel Master Tournament in July. Both of those norms were earned in just eight games. He fulfilled the rating requirements by winning against IM Emin Ohanyan (ARM) in the tenth round of World Youth 2022. Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

Final two GM-norms in just eight games each

Last year, Pranav Anand became India's first International Master in 2021. We had already covered his journey until then. He was touted to be the next big thing from Karnataka. Fast forward to 1.5 years later, he lived up to everyone's expectations and foregone knowledge, that the GM-title was an inevitability for him. Apart from winning mutltitude of State champions, Pranav won Gold only once at Asian Youth Under-16 Open last year which was held online. However, this year, Pranav decided to play in the World Youth. After some last minute dilemma, he played the event, earned the coveted title and won the Gold in consecutive days.

India's 76th Grandmaster and World Youth Under-16 Open champion - Pranav Anand | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

"Probably the title, because I was very close many times, like in Slovakia also. If it was not for the eighth round loss, probably it would have been there. That's the special one for me than the world title." - Pranav Anand on what's more important to him, the World Under-16 Open crown or the Grandmaster title.

The story of India's 76th GM and World Under-16 champion - Pranav Anand feat. Saravanan, Jayaram | Video: ChessBase India

First GM-norm: Sunway Sitges 2021

Pranav Anand earned his maiden GM-norm at Sunway Sitges Open in December 2021. He defeated GM Novendra Priasmoro (INA), GM Daniel Dardha (BEL), drew with GM M Amin Tabatabaei (IRI) and GM Sankalp Gupta. He needed to win three games in a row to achieve his GM-norm and he managed to do that by winning his seventh to ninth round games which is certainly not an easy task.

Pranav - Novendra, Round 8

Position after 29.Nxg5

29.Nxg5 is a brilliant tactical shot. Try to think like Pranav and find out what happens if Black accepts the sacrifice 29...fxg5.

"I shout at myself..." - IM Pranav Anand scores his first GM-norm | Video: ChessBase India

Pranav scored his maiden GM-norm in nine rounds, scoring 7/9 and gained 20 Elo rating points overall

Pranav Anand at 8th Sunway Sitges Chess Festival 2021 | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Second GM-norm: Vezerkepzo GM March 2022

Pranav Anand scored his second GM-norm at Vezerkepzo GM March in Hungary. He defeated GM Zoltan Varga (HUN), GM Lajos Seres (HUN) and GM Zlatko Ilinčić (SRB) en route his second GM-norm. He took only eight games for it.

Pranav - Varga, Round 2

Position after 14...f5

14...f5 is certainly a positional mistake. Black had to play 14...h6 to control the g5-square. 15.exf6 gxf6 16.Re1 Kh8 17.Bh6 Rg8 18.Bd3 Qe8 19.Ng3 and Black resigned.

Pranav Anand scored his second GM-norm with a 2737 performance and gained 28.8 Elo rating points

Third GM-norm: Biel MTO 2022

Pranav Anand was leading the 55th Biel Masters Tournament (MTO) till the fifth round. He scored wins over GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA), GM Sethuraman S P, drew with GM Aryan Chopra, GM Shant Sargsyan (ARM) and GM Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli (ESP). Just like the previous norm, he earned his final GM-norm also in just eight rounds.

Lagarde - Pranav, Round 3

Position after 22...Nhg4+

Pranav Anand seized all his opportunities as his opponent GM Maxime Lagarde (FRA) made a few positional inaccuracies. White had an opportunity to capture the e5-knight a few moves ago, 19.Bxe5 fxe5 20.Rg1 would have been comparatively better for White than what was played. After 22...Nhg4+, there is no good way for White to defend the position. So he opted to give up his exchange 23.Bxg4 Bxg4 24.Rxg4 Nxg4+ 25.Kf3 Ne5+ 26.Bxe5 fxe5 White has no counterplay and Black is completely winning.

Pranav scored 5.5/9, earned his second GM-norm in just eight games and gained 19.2 Elo rating points overall

Pranav Anand scored his \third GM-norm at 55th Biel Chess Festival with a fantastic performance | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Crossing 2500 in the live ratings and striking Gold

Pranav Anand became India's 76th Grandmaster when he beat IM Emin Ohanyan (ARM) in the tenth round of World Youth Under-16 Open Championship 2022. Check out his best game from the tournament against Pham Thien Phuc Vo (VIE) from the seventh round, annotated by Pranav himself.

Pham - Pranav, Round 7

Position after 19...Nxg4

19...Nxg4! is an excellent move as Black has a lot of attacking possibilites - Bd4+ followed by Qxh4. White's kingside is quite exposed too. Check out Pranav's analysis to get the complete idea of what went through his mind.

"I never imagined that I would complete my GM title here" - Pranav Anand | Video: ChessBase India

Pranav Anand drew his final round game after becoming a Grandmaster, thus winning the Gold in World Youth Under-16 Open 2022 | Photo: FIDE/Mark Livshitz

Pranav scored an unbeaten 9/11 to win Gold at World Youth Under-16 Open 2022 while crossing 2500 in the live ratings after Round 10

IM V Saravanan - Pranav Anand's current trainer

"Pranav definitely deserved to win this tournament. He was the top seed and definitely favorite on paper because of his high rating compared to the other seeds of the tournament. First six rounds were not very impressive, considering three draws. Somewhere after six rounds, we kind of had a long chat. He has also worked very hard on his tactics and so on, the last few years, calculation and all that. Two things I suggested him, go for sharper lines especially with black pieces and don't exchange queens as much as possible. Keep the complexity of the position but with queens as well on the board. That seemed to work - won Benoni, won Moscow with black pieces. They were crucial wins, especially the ninth round when he had to beat the sole leader (FM Timothe Razafindratsima), tenth round when he had to beat the joint leader (IM Emin Ohanyan). Both the games went very well. So four wins in-a-row, I think that's what ultimately clinched him the title.


The GM title was always coming. I feel that it has come a year late because of the pandemic. Pranav has been working extremely hard on chess. He is a very very passionate young boy, wants to do nothing but practice chess or play chess throughout the day. In fact, I was not a proper coach when I started training Pranav. Before him, I have been only working as a trainer, as a second for some fellow strong players. In a certain way, it has been a very enjoyable journey so far with Pranav. I learnt how to coach a young boy and I believe he also enjoyed a lot, these last two years, interacting with each other. Of course, there is no single path to the top in chess. You just have to find what works for you. So that way, Pranav is a trainer's delight who is ready to work all the time. Throughout the day he does not want to do anything but work on chess. He is a really talented young boy and I really hope things go well for him in the future."

Jayaram Ramanna - Pranav Anand's first trainer

"The first time I met Pranav was actually in 2013. He was a six-year-old boy. I had asked one of my junior trainers to do some beginners classes in Koramangala area. That is where Pranav was actually staying. Then he told me that none of the students are interested, it's better to close the batch in the Koramangala center where we were in a partnership with a library called, Just Books. I said yeah it's better to close if nobody is interested and things like that. Then he said, one kid who is exceptional. We can just ask him to travel to Jayanagar center and then we can close the batch. That was the first time I heard of Pranav Anand in September 2013. Then I spoke to his parents and said, if you are ready to come to Jayanagar, I am ready to train Pranav Anand. December 2013 is when my journey with the young Pranav started.


It is very difficult to say. Many times what happens is, the coach is one who actually tries to set a path for the student and something like that, that is usually the story but if you see, Pranav Anand is a kind of student, every coach of like 2000-2100 strengths should get who actually will set the tone for the coach to behave in the right way he should train... First is like, he always used to ask questions which would always try to go to the fundamentals - to the core. You can't try to just read a book, try to make some puzzles, just teach in class and finish your job. He needs to ask what's the reason for it, how are you going to apply in a real game and what should I do to understand more of it. If you are a coach referring to books, you teach a topic, let's say a Lucena position or Philidor's draw, you will have the topic mentioned and you will have two examples with it. You will teach and you will get away with it but this guy wanted deeper understanding. Like on Lucena, he wants to solve 50 positions. Where will you get 50 positions? You have to go and search. The trainer's job becomes very difficult. So in that process, as a trainer, I kept upgrading myself, just to be good enough to teach this guy."

Replay all games of Pranav Anand

Pranav Anand with his grandmother

Pranav Anand at Gibraltar Masters | Photo: Niki Riga

Pranav Anand with his first IM-norm certificate at Rilton Cup 2018-19

Pranav Anand with a huge trophy he won

Pranav Anand's Best Achievements

India's 76th GM Pranav Anand has won a lot of State championships. Here are few of his best achievements:

• Gold in World Youth Under-16 Open in 2022.

• Gold in Asian Youth Under-16 Open in 2021.

• Champion - Karnataka State Schools Under-11 Boys in 2015.

• Champion - Karnataka State Under-9 Boys in 2015, Under-11 Boys in 2016 and 2017.

• Runner-up - Karnataka State Under-9 Boys in 2014, Under-13 Open in 2015.


Pranav Anand, just 12 years old, yet so mature! | Video: ChessBase India
Ilamparthi and Pranav Anand very close to winning Gold | Video: ChessBase India
India gets its 76th GM - Pranav Anand | Video: ChessBase India


Youtube playlist on Pranav Anand

Related news:
The next big talent of Karnataka - IM Pranav Anand

@ 04/03/2021 by Shahid Ahmed (en)
A norm seeker's paradise - Rilton Cup 2018-19 in Sweden

@ 20/01/2019 by Rupali Mullick (en)

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