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The Special Siblings – Praggnanandhaa & Vaishali Talk Chess and Beyond

We caught with with siblings R Praggnanandhaa and R Vaishali to discuss chess and beyond.

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The realm of Indian chess has seen a rapid rise of young prodigies, and among them, the sibling duo of R Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali Rameshbabu stand out significantly.

Vaishali recently joined the esteemed ranks of grandmasters, becoming only the third Indian woman to achieve this feat after Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli.

The 22-year-old secured fourth place in the women’s category at the recently concluded Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger. Meanwhile, Praggnanandhaa, who is the youngest player to be a FIDE World Cup runner-up, secured third place in the same event. Notably, he defeated Magnus Carlsen in this event.

Following the conclusion of the event in Norway, The Quint caught up with these prodigies for an engaging conversation. They shared insights into their sibling bond, unveiled some secrets, discussed each other's quirks in a lighthearted exchange.

Here are the excerpts:

0

Vaishali, could you guys please introduce Pragg to us?

This is R Praggnanandhaa. I don't know what else to say (laughs). Yeah, he's currently in the world top 10. He was one of the world's youngest international masters and world youngest grandmaster. His rating and ranking is moving on top. He's also Olympic individual bronze medalist and team bronze medalist and he has won world under 10 and under 8 championships.

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Pragg, could you please introduce Vaishali to us?

We have my sister Vaishali. She's India's third woman grandmaster and she's ranked third among women in India and also in the top 15. She became Grandmaster last year. if I start mentioning all her achievements, it will take a long time (laughs).

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What's your favourite quality of your sibling, Vaishali?

Pragg is just like any other kid. He just takes everything lightly. Doesn't matter if he's lost a game or won it or what he has achieved, he handles it very calmly. He is just very easy going and this is something I love about him.

We caught with with siblings R Praggnanandhaa and R Vaishali to discuss chess and beyond.
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What do you like the most about your sibling, Pragg?

She is a perfectionist. She likes things to be organised and doesn't like too much of a mess. And in chess, it's the other way around. She's well organised.

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Vaishali, ⁠if you could steal one of your sibling's strengths, which one would you choose and why?

tournament. This is something that takes me a long time to deal with it. In between tournaments, it takes a lot of time for me to recover from the game. I’m a bit emotional. But Pragg is just easy going with wins or losses. This is something I'll take away from him.

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Pragg, if you could steal one of your sibling's strengths, which one would you choose and why?

She's more creative and aggressive. I like that a bit and that's something I’d like to acquire from her.

We caught with with siblings R Praggnanandhaa and R Vaishali to discuss chess and beyond.
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Vaishali, do you two consult each other for advice or strategies when preparing for tournaments?

We discuss chess everyday and I ask him about the openings I want to play. We also talk about the games happening around the world. We discuss about those games.

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Vaishali, when you guys play chess at home, who wins the most?

Pragg wins the most but I also win games here and there sometimes.

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Pragg, who do your parents root for when playing chess at home?

They just hope there is no fight.

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Pragg, who is your parents’ favourite child?

I don't think there’s a favourite child because we equally get scolded. Okay, I'm joking. I mean, they like both of so they both have no particular favourite.

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Vaishali, what do you guys fight over the most?

We fight and we argue a lot. For  every little thing just like any other siblings, I would say. We fight over the TV remote a lot.

We caught with with siblings R Praggnanandhaa and R Vaishali to discuss chess and beyond.
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Vaishali, what's the most annoying habit of your sibling?

He's totally messy. This is also something we fight over, he just puts all his stuff lying around.  I try to get him to organise things, but he doesn't listen to me. He just wants things to be scattered around.

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Pragg, do you find anything about your sister annoying?

She's a perfectionist and tries to keep things organised. That sometimes becomes annoying for me because like things where you don't really have to be perfect, she tries to be perfect there. That kind of makes me annoyed at times.

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Other than chess, which other sport do you like the most, Vaishali?

We like badminton and we play badminton together, too.

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Vaishali, who does Pragg find his toughest opponent?

I don't think there is anyone in particular. He just enjoys playing against the top players. There are strong players, of course, but he enjoys playing against them.

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Pragg, who does Vaishali think is her biggest challenge?

I have the same answer to this. We don’t see anyone as the toughest opponent and we just enjoy playing against the top players and every game is a challenge. We just look forward to that.

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Vaishali, do you have a favourite memory of interacting with a fan?

We've been meeting some of our fans, like some fellow Indians living here. They come to the playing hall and wait for us. Some even travel for two or three hours just to meet us. It gives us goosebumps to hear that. I mean, they're making such an effort, leaving their work and travelling so far just to see us. And these little things mean a lot to us. Sometimes they even bring homemade food, which is really special. It's heartwarming to see our fellow Indians doing this out of love for us. We've had similar experiences in the past too. It's just really sweet.

We caught with with siblings R Praggnanandhaa and R Vaishali to discuss chess and beyond.
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Pragg, what's your favourite fan memory?

Once, someone came from eight hours away just to say hi. It really amazed me because I can't imagine doing that myself. I mean, travelling eight hours just to say hi? It's hard for me to imagine and there are other stories too but this one stands out.

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Vaishali, how do you celebrate when you return home after winning a tournament?

We go to the temple, and then our grandma comes to our home. It's not a big celebration, but it's what we enjoy. Our close family lives near our house, so they visit us, and we try to spend time with them. It's like a long event because we're away from home for 20 days, so meeting our close family members and having a good time is important to us.

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Pragg, what do you to unwind after a lengthy tournament?

I just try not to do anything and avoid thinking about chess. There won't be any big celebrations, but I just try to take a break from chess and relax a bit. So that when I come back to it, I feel refreshed.

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Topics:  chess   videos   Praggnanandhaa 

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