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Pranav Venkatesh becomes India's 75th Grandmaster

by Shahid Ahmed - 22/08/2022

Pranav Venkatesh earned his maiden GM-norm at Serbia Masters 2021. He also became an International Master at the very same event. Almost a year later, he scored his second norm at Vezerkepzo GM June in Budapest, Hungary. He also crossed 2500 in the live ratings in the process. Needing only his final GM-norm, after Svetozar Gligoric Memorial Masters, his father decided to take him to 5th Limpedea Cup 2022 where he won the event and scored his final GM-norm. He became India's 75th GM on 7th August, a little over week before India completed its 75th year of Independence. Let's take a look at Tamil Nadu's 25th GM Pranav's journey towards the coveted GM title from the boy himself and his parents. Photo: Sagar Shah

Two GM-norms and crossing 2500 barrier in two months

Pranav Venkatesh started his chess journey at VBS Chess Academy back in 2012-13. After VBS, he was enrolled in T Nagar Chess Academy. He had mutltitude of coaches throughout his nascent career - Al Kasi and Srinivasa Rangan at T Nagar Chess Academy, WIM N Raghavi, Vijay Anand, GM Vishnu Prasanna and the present coach, FM FT K Visweswaran. The 15-year-old was supposed to return to India on 24th July after finishing his Svetozar Gligoric Memorial Masters tournament where he finished seventh. When his father got to know about the 5th Limpedea Cup 2022, his intuition told him to reschedule the ticket and take his son to that event.

India's 75th Grandmaster - Pranav Venkatesh | Photo: Sagar Shah
Pranav Venkatesh on becoming India's 75th GM | Video: ChessBase India

"It's both actually. I am happy and relieved at the same time because making the final GM-norm was not that easy. My rating was high and I could not play GMs at the open tournament. So, it was little bit difficult but yeah I managed to finish my norm requirements." - Pranav's live rating is now 2530.

Sadhana app's sponsorship Mission Grandmaster came true for Pranav Venkatesh | Photo: ChessBase India

"It's very nice to be supported by them (Sadhana app) and actually finishing the thing. So yeah, I am very happy and thankful to them." - Pranav on being sponsored by the Sadhana app when he had only one GM-norm and rating was around 2480.

First GM-norm: Serbia Masters 2021

Pranav Venkatesh became an International Master and scored his maiden GM-norm in this event. He defeated GM Milos Perunovic (SRB), IM Marko Nenezic (SRB), IM Aydin Suleymanli (AZE), and drew with GM Raunak Sadhwani, GM Vugar Asadli (AZE) and GM Eltaj Safarli (AZE).

Milos - Pranav, Round 4

Position after 31...Nf4

While getting a good position is important, what's more important is executing the correct idea at the right time. That's exactly what Pranav did with 31...Nf4. White is forced to take it 32.Nxf4 exf4 and it is safe to say that Black has got a decisive advantage.

Pranav V becomes International Master, scores maiden GM-norm, gains 66 Elo rating points at Serbia Open 2021 | Video: ChessBase India

Pranav scored his maiden GM-norm with a performance of 2646, scoring 6/9 and gained 66.2 Elo rating points

Pranav Venkatesh became an International Master and scored his first GM-norm at the same event - Serbia Masters 2021 | Photo: Official site

Second GM-norm: Vezerkepzo GM June 2022

Pranav started the tournament with seven straight victories with a performance of 3175. Thus, he scored his second GM-norm witth two rounds to spare at Vezerkepzo GM June 2022. He defeated GM Attila Czebe (HUN), GM Valeriy Aveskulov (UKR) and then Czech Republic no.8, GM Vojtech Plat. He defeated Plat in the eighth round and wanted to win the final round game too. However, his opponent was too solid, thus the game ended in a draw.

Aveskulov - Pranav, Round 7

Position after 37...Nd8

To understand Pranav's strength, you have to see his win against GM Valeriy Aveskulov (UKR, 2534). It is evident that Black has a positional edge. The game is a must-see for those who love positional chess and the art of maneuvering, because the teenager masterfully converted his advantage into a win. His understanding of the piece placement eventually induced a mistake by the GM, and he went on to win the game. This win secured Pranav's second GM-norm in just seven games.

IM Pranav Venkatesh scores his second GM-norm in Hungary with a 3175 rating performance | Video: ChessBase India

Pranav scored 8.5/9, remained undefeated, performed at 3175 to score his second GM-norm in just seven games

Champion - IM Pranav V 8.5/9 flanked by organizer GM Attila Czebe (right) and Chief Arbiter FA Bela David (left) | Photo: Attila's fb

Third GM-norm: 5th Limpedia Cup

Pranav earned his final GM-norm at 5th Limpedea Cup 2022 earlier this month. He scored an unbeaten 7/9 to win the tournament, finishing 1.5 points ahead of the field. He performed at 2620, gaining 10.9 Elo rating points. He defeated GM Marius Manolache (ROU), drew with GM Andrei Istratescu (ROU) and GM George-Gabriel Grigore (ROU).

Martinovici - Pranav, Round 2

Position after 16.Ne1

Find out why 16.Ne1 is a big mistake by White.

Winner of 5th Limpedea Cup - India's 75th GM Pranav Venkatesh with his final GM-norm certificate along with the organizers

Pranav scored 7/9 to earn his final GM-norm with a performance of 2620, gained 10.9 Elo rating points

Pranav worked with Al Kasi and Srinavasa Rangan at T Nagar Chess Academy

"He was with us when he won under 9 Nationals. He could have become GM some three years back itself if not for the pandemic and his lack of finance. He likes to play interesting positions. He is very strong tactically. Congrats Pranav, expecting you to reach 2700 plus in quick time. Special mention to his dad Venkatesh who is despite financial struggles trying to fulfill his son's dream and promise. Great times ahead for Indian chess. All the best chessbase India to take our country as No.1 chess playing nation along with AICF." - Srinivasa Rangan on Pranav Venkatesh becoming India's 75th GM.


"He was sharp and simply brilliant. He was able to solve many tough puzzles quickly. He is a strong attacking player and can find some kind of attack on any position. He is a hardworking and highly motivated student. He has a very great calculation and intuition. He has no fear even against the strong players. He could work for long hours on a single stretch.  He used to beat strong & highly rated players in our academy tournaments. He could have easily been a Grandmaster earlier had it not been for Covid. He was already an U-9 National champion before moving out of the academy. He is lucky to have such supporting parents. They worked equally harder as him. We wish him to achieve more and more heights!" - AL Kasi on India's latest GM Pranav Venkatesh.

WIM N Raghavi and her husband GM Vishnu Prasanna

In 2016, Pranav started working with WIM N Raghavi. He won the Asian Bronze medal after that.

Pranav also worked with Vijay Anand

Pranav also worked with Vijay Anand for a short time when D Gukesh was also part of the team.

GM Vishnu Prasanna is a fantastic trainer and a gem of a person too | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

India's 33rd GM Vishnu Prasanna is also known for working with India's youngest GM D Gukesh. He has also worked with Pranav Venkatesh for two years.

Pranav flanked by his parents - Venkatesh (father) and Indumathi (mother) | Photo: Sagar Shah

"The first thing was just to call my mother and just to inform everybody there, my family and my coach, FM FT K Visweswaran. He was very happy and told everybody." - Pranav Venkatesh on the first thing he did after he became India's 75th GM.

Pranav Venkatesh with his coach - FM FT K Visweswaran

"He is my coach since 2019. He has been very helpful with my chess, like preparing opening and even off the chess board, how to be psychologically and what to do, stuff like that. My coach has been really helpful." - Pranav on his coach FM FT K Visweswaran.

S Kailashanathan, MD of Microsense has sponsored Pranav Venkatesh | Photo: Amruta Mokal

"Now that I finished my GM title, I am looking forward to 2600-2700, try to qualify for the World Championship Cycle, like the World Cup or something like that. That's my next goal." - Pranav on his next goal.

Simple walking helped Pranav to improve his fitness

"It's nothing much. I would just go for some walking, some exercise in the home, just simple stuff, nothing special." - Pranav on his fitness.

GM Eric Hansen and GM Aman Hambleton of Chessbrah | Photo:

He also added, "Around the time of lockdown, I used to play a lot of blitz. I played a lot against GM Eric Hansen and GM Aman Hambleton of Chessbrah. That's where I started to follow them. It was around 2020, I played a lot against them. At some point I think in a year, the most I played against, Aman, like 3000 games which was very incredible. Then I got a chance to play in their team, for the Canada Chessbrah in Pro Chess League which happened in 2021. It was a great experience."

Chessbrah is the pioneer of chess streaming and entertainment | Photo: Chessbrah youtube channel
Father decided not to shave his beard till his son becomes a GM | Video: ChessBase India

We, ChessBase India have sponsored a laptop, Lenovo Yoga 7, for Pranav Venkatesh, after he became a GM. He used to share his laptop with his father's office work laptop. This amount of ₹100000 was sponsored by Dharmen Shah.

Replay all games of Pranav

First Cup - Pranav Venkatesh receiving fourth prize at VBS Academy tournament

Pranav's first triumph - Winner of National Schools Under-9 Open in 2014, scoring 8/9

29th National Under-9 Boys 2015 champion - Pranav Venkatesh 9/11

Pranav V receiving prize from GM Koneru Humpy and her father

Pranav won Bronze medal in World Cadets Under-10 Open 2016 in Batumi, Georgia

Can you recognize all Indian medal winners at World Cadets Under-10 and 12 Championship 2016?

Pranav Venkatesh won 2nd IIFLW Mumbai Junior (Under-13) 2017 and received his prize from the legend, Vishy Anand himself

Thanks to Pranav, his parents mother Indumathi (left) and father Venkatesh got an opportunity to share the podium with Vishy Anand

Pranav's Best Achievements

India's 75th GM Pranav Venkatesh has won a multitude of State, State level, National level and International Classical and Blitz Open tournaments all over India and around the world. Here are few of his best achievements:

• Bronze in World Cadets Under-16 Open in 2016.

• Champion in National Schools Under-9 Open in 2014.

• Champion in National Under-9 Boys in 2015.

• Champion in 2nd IIFLW Mumbai Junior (Under-13) in 2017.

• Champion - 1st Athens of the East Blitz Open 2018.

• Champion - CBSE Under-14 Mixed Individual and Team 2018 for Velammal Vidyalaya school.

• Three times consecutive Tamil Nadu State Senior champion (2019-2022)


Pranav.V holds Raunak Sadhwani to a draw | Serbia Open 2021 | Video: ChessBase India
12-year-old Pranav uses the London system to beat GM Karthik Venkatraman (2525) | Video: ChessBase India
11-year-old Pranav Venkatesh outwits experienced Hungarian GM Adam Horvath | Video: ChessBase India
Bullet monster Pranav V | Video: ChessBase India
"And now I was dead lost!" Pranav V analyzes with IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India
Why was the Grandmaster so upset? | Pranav vs GM Savic | Paracin Rapid 2021 | Video: ChessBase India
Pranav turns Ponziani into Poison for Diego | Dubai 2020 World School Tournament | Video: ChessBase India
Arjun Erigaisi's tremendous calculations versus Pranav Venkatesh | Video: ChessBase India


Youtube playlist on Pranav Venkatesh

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