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Chairman of ISRO S. Somanath visits Praggnanandhaa's home in Chennai

by Sagar Shah - 24/10/2023

Two prides of our country - 17-year-old Praggnanandhaa and 60-year-old S.Somanath, the chairman of ISRO met each other on 16th of October 2023. This meet took place at Pragg's residence in Chennai. Somanath was keen to know more about Pragg's journey and also mentioned that Pragg would work together with ISRO to promote space, sciene and technology to the youngsters of our nation. What did Pragg feel about the entire episode, we get to know more about it in this article.

On 23rd of August 2023 we made a post on our Twitter:

"There is an aspiration in the Indians - to be the best in the world at what we do. It's with this same aspiration that two huge events are going to take place on the 23rd of August 2023. Chandrayaan 3 is going to land on the moon and Praggnanandhaa is going to try and beat Magnus Carlsen at the FIDE World Cup 2023. Both are extremely difficult tasks to achieve, but the entire nation of 1.4 billion people is going to root for them! :) Why is it that what Chandrayaan-3 is trying to do is so difficult to achieve? Well, because it has never been done before. In the past people have achieved landing their module on the Lunar surface but that was near moon's equatorial region. What Chandrayaan-3 is trying to do is land the moon near its south polar region. This is not at all easy and has never been attempted before. The entire nation will watch with bated breath as the landing is planned on 6.04 p.m. on 23rd of August 2023.

 

In Baku, Azerbaijan, an 18-year-old Indian is going to sit opposite the greatest chess player on the planet right now Magnus Carlsen and is going to try and beat him at the FIDE Chess World Cup 2023. It's not going to be easy for Praggnanandhaa. Magnus Carlsen is hungry for the title. He has never won the World Cup before. But Pragg is in scintillating form. He has already knocked out world no.3 Hikaru Nakamura and world no.2 Fabiano Caruana from this event. If he beats Magnus on 23rd of August 2023, Pragg creates history as the youngest ever player in the world to win the FIDE World Cup. The game starts at 4.30 p.m. IST.

 

The landing on moon's south pole and beating Magnus Carlsen are both quite tough. But what the Chandrayaan-3 (ISRO) and Praggnanandhaa make us believe is that it is important to attempt the difficult. There are goals in the world that no one believed someone could achieve. But with hardwork and quiet dedication, you can let your "moves" do the talking. And who knows, if you achieve it, it will expand the collective consciousness of the world of what is possible and what is not! :) We hope that both Chandrayaan and Pragnanandhaa are successful in their missions today. But even if they are not, we as Indians are proud that they both are attempting something truly special. PS: Isn't it an amazing co-incidence that the rover of Chandrayaan-3 is named as Pragyan! Or is it really a co-incidence! :)"

Chandrayaan 3 did land successfully on the moon and the rover Pragyan 3 began its job. Meanwhile, Pragg did hold Magnus Carlsen to a draw in the first two classical games but then lost to him in the tiebreaks. It was still an extremely successful event for Pragg as he reached the finals, won the silver medal and also got himself a spot in the FIDE Candidates 2024.

Fast forward a couple of months, on 16th of October 2023, Praggnanandhaa met the Chairman of ISRO S. Somanath. The meeting took place at Pragg's home in Chennai.

Pragg being gifted the LVM3 by Mr. Somanath as his father Rameshbabu proudly looks on. According to Somanath, "Rockets are meant to go up, and in the same way we wish Pragg go to upwards in his chess career."

Speaking about how this meeting came about, Pragg says, "We got a call from a Somanath sir's PA to my father asking if we could meet at my place because he was coming to Chennai on 16th of October. We were very delighted and happy to meet sir. I remember, I was watching Chandrayaan 3 takeoff while I was in Hungary for the Geza Hetenyi Memorial. After my 2nd classical game against Magnus at the FIDE World Cup 2023, I remember watching the landing of Chandrayaan 3 on the moon and it was a very proud feeling.

Pragg speaks about watching the Chandrayaan 3 after his game with Magnus. This interview was done after the FIDE World Cup 2023

"We felt honored to host him at our place. We were discussing about my journey and my trainings and also we were also discussing about Chandrayaan 3. Sir also gifted us a replica of LVM 3 model. I really enjoyed the conversations. I was showing him showing some photos and my medals from the World Cup and Asian Games."

A wonderful group photo!

This might not be the last time these two personalities meet each other. "Sir has invited me to Trivandrum and Sriharikota to visit the launchers and see how the rockets are made. I am very excited for it. Hopefully one day I'll visit them soon."

Authentic south Indian food was served to the guests!

The Chairman of ISRO did mention in an interview about Pragg working together with ISRO to promote space. According to him it will help more youngsters in the country take up science, engineering, technology. What does Pragg have to say about this? "Regarding working with ISRO, we haven't discussed much yet, but I'll be more than happy to do anything for them. They have made Indians very proud and I'll be extremely happy to do anything they want. And yeah, I just take this opportunity to say best wishes to all the scientists in ISRO and best wishes for all their future launches. There are many more missions coming up for them. We are very proud of what they are doing."

While Pragg is 17 years old and S. Somanath is 60 years old, one thing that is common to both of them is the fact that they have made India proud on innumerable occasions and we believe that they will continue to do so in the coming years!

 


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