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Praggnanandhaa ready for World Cup

‘I’ve played aggressively in recent times and I am happy with the results’

Chess prodigy R. Praggnanandhaa is keen to make an impression on his World Cup debut next week in Sochi, Russia.

In the Capital to collect his Schengen visa from the Swiss Embassy to play in events in Europe over the next few months, Praggnanandhaa reflected on his preparation on Thursday. “I have been preparing just the way I prepare for any other tournament. This is my first World Cup and I am excited about it. I have not set any specific goal. I am going to take a game at a time,” he said.

Praggnanandhaa, a wild-card entrant, opens his campaign against Paulo Bersamina (Philippines). A win will earn Praggnanandhaa a clash against the experienced Armenian Gabriel Sargissian.

“I played against Paulo some six years ago,” revealed the youngster and said, “I have also seen a few games of Sargissian since there will not be much time between two rounds.

Sharpening his game

Praggnanandhaa also mentioned how his recent performances in the Meltwaters Champions Chess Tour and the Challengers Tour has helped him sharpen his game.

“I’ve played pretty aggressively in recent times (in the online events) and I am happy with the results. Since I have played a lot online, it has helped my confidence,” said Praggnanandhaa.

Talking about his impressive showing in the New in Chess Classic, where he beat Sergey Karjakin and drew with Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzha, he said, “I am slowly learning to play the position and not get influenced by the reputation of my rivals.”

Looking ahead, Praggnanandhaa has three events lined up.

“I received the invitation to play in the Masters section of the Biel International Chess Festival (July 26-August 4).

“ I am scheduled to play in the Riga Technical University Open (August 9 -15) and Group ‘A’ of the Ciutat de Barcelona (August 18-26).”

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