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Long live India's strongest chess couple - Vishnu & Raghavi

by Sagar Shah - 06/06/2017

GM Vishnu Prasanna and WIM Raghavi Nagarajan tied their wedding knot on the 5th of June 2017 in Chennai. It was a star studded event with players from all over India flying in to attend the marriage ceremony! Some of the big names who were present at the reception were Aruna Anand, B. Adhiban, Harika and many more. ChessBase India's Sagar Shah ensured that he made it to this grand event. Apart from Raghavi and Vishnu being his wonderful friends, the duo are now the strongest couple of Indian chess with an Elo average of 2414! Long live King Vishnu and Queen Raghavi!

On 5th of June 2017, 28-year-old GM Vishnu Prasanna and 28-year-old WIM Raghavi Nagarajan tied the knot to become India's strongest chess couple
As I witnessed the marriage ceremony my mind was drawn back to the year 2013. With a rating of 2492 and three GM norms, IM Vishnu Prasanna had come to gain those coveted eight Elo points at the Albena Open 2013 in Bulgaria. I was playing in the same tournament and so was Raghavi. Vishnu confidently scored 4.0/4 and just as he likes, without much of a drama, became a grandmaster!
Vishnu's treat on becoming a GM at the Tex Mex House - On the right hand side the lovely couple Vishnu and Raghavi, and on the left Swapnil Dhopade and yours truly.

While sitting in that very restaurant, one of the locals came towards Vishnu with a red rose in his hand. "For the wonderful couple!", he said. I don't know why, but I acted like Vishnu's manager at that point. "How much is the rose for?" I asked. It was for 10 euros! "What?! 10 euros?!", I exclaimed. I stopped Vishnu from that wasteful expenditure and he agreed. After four years have passed and I have become much more matured and level headed than before, I realize my stupidity! A red rose to your lover on the day you became a GM is a memory for a lifetime. Being able to create this for ten euros, is money well spent! I always keep reminding Vishnu and Raghavi about that day and keep apologizing for being a stingy fool!

There was something about Vishnu and Raghavi, right from 2013 that made me feel that they were made for each other!
Vishnu doesn't like to speak much and Raghavi is a bundle of energy. Somehow they both just compliment each other perfectly. As Vishnu rightly said, "We both know that we are weird, and we are very comfortable about that fact!"
From 2013 to 2017, Raghavi and Vishnu nurtured their relationship and ensured that they got married to each other!
When a GM and WIM gets married, the invitation card is bound to have a chess angle to it!
The wedding took place on 5th of June at 6 a.m. (Yes! that's common in South India!) at Vishnu's place in Anna Nagar. The garden in the backyard was converted into the stage for the marriage.
Tying the mangala sutra...
...and applying the Sindoor on the top of the bride's forehead!
A video that gives you a feel of the atmosphere of the marriage!
Even though the marriage was early in the morning a lot of chess players had turned up!
Adhiban, Vishnu, Kidambi, Satyapragyan and Sagar
You can safely say that they are four of the biggest experts when it comes to knowledge about classical chess. IM Saravanan, GM Kidambi, Srikanth Govindaseshan and Ganesh Dorairaj
IM Saravanan's beautiful family - wife Sanchita and son Nandan!
A day before I landed in Chennai I asked Adhiban whether he would be coming to the wedding. "I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world," he said. In the picture he is seen with WIM Priya Paneer
WIM Priya is one of Raghavi's closest friends. Together they have founded the Creative Minds chess club in Chennai.
K. Visweswaran with two of his best students Vishnu and Adhiban. Also seen in the picture are Adhiban's parents and sports mind trainer Krishna Prasad.
They tried their best, but Vishnu's true love and brute force triumphed!
The joy of being with Vishnu easily surpassed the sadness of leaving her friends! 
The perfect family picture!
Soumya Swaminthan enjoying a great breakfast. On her right is Rajasuriya, sister of GM Deepan Chakravarthy.
The sumptuous breakfast included jalebi, medu wada, chutney, sambhar, puri, idli, upma. And the dosa was yet to arrive!
The menu for lunch!
Raghavi was not thrilled that instead of just posing for the picture, Vishnu actually ate her morsel!
The first half of the day had successfully ended! It was now time for the reception in the evening!

Reception at Grand Hyatt ( 7 p.m. onwards ) 

The reception ceremony took place in the Hotel Grand Hyatt. The same place where the Anand - Carlsen Match of 2013 was held.
Viswanathan Anand was busy fighting with the best players in Stavanger, Norway, but his better half Aruna made it a point to attend the wedding. Here she is seen chatting with Ramesh RB, Srikanth Govindaseshan and Ganesh Dorairaj.
Aruna with the players from Maharashtra. It was a great gesture by Ashwin Trimal (second from right), owner of Pune TruMasters in the MCL, to travel all the way from Pune for the wedding.
Vishnu and Raghavi enter the reception hall
The couple in a classy avatar!
It was one of the most exciting evenings for me as a chess player. Everywhere I looked I could see a famous name in the chess world. In fact the running joke was that if a tournament was organized with the people who had come for the reception, it would be stronger than the Mayor's Cup currently in progress in Mumbai!
Sethuraman's family - his father, brother and mother with Adhiban. Unfortunately Sethu was not in Chennai.
India number two Harika Dronavalli took out time from her World Team preparations and came to greet the couple. Also in the picture is WGM Meenakshi Subbaraman.
Thanks Harika for looking right into the camera! :)
M.R. Venkatesh with his wife Bhavani Sundaram chatting with Aruna
Harini Sankaran with her son. Husband P. Karthikeyan is busy fighting it out at the Mumbai Mayor's Cup.
N. Surendran with his mother and sister. On his left is N. Lokesh
One of the most unconventional chess players in Indian chess (Nh3, f3!) M. Vinoth Kumar with his wife and daughter and Adhiban!
IM C. Praveen Kumar with his wife!
Very much single and looking out for his bride-to-be is IM Navin Kanna!
WIM P. Priya with her wonderful family!
Aruna congratulates the parents of India's latest grandmaster - Srinath Narayanan
Vishnu's parents and his brother!
The dreamteam that made the city of Wijk Aan Zee shake! Vishnu and Adhiban!
The gift to the couple from ChessBase India was a ChessBase 14. But it was not just a normal copy....
The front had the signature of Vishy and Aruna Anand
And on the backside you had the autographs of all the chess players who attended the reception!
One of the upsides of getting married...
...and not to forget the other one! You get a partner who will share your joys and sorrows forever!
This was perhaps the best wedding I had ever attended! Long live King Vishnu and Queen Raghavi!
Vishnu and Raghavi, I hope that with this report you will be able to savour the fond memories of this beautiful day of your marriage. Perhaps, you will also forgive me for the rose incident of 2013! :)

Strongest Chess couple in India

For quite some time now GM Sriram Jha (2375) and IM S.Vijayalakshmi (2375) have been the strongest chess couple in terms of Elo rating in India. Their average rating is 2375.

However it must be mentioned that when the couple got married to each other in January 2005, Vijayalakshmi was rated 2418, and Sriram Jha was 2445. That meant that at the time of their wedding their rating average was 2432!

As on today GM Vishnu Prasanna (2538) and WIM Raghavi Nagarajan (2290) are the strongest Indian chess couple with a rating average of 2414! And we almost forgot to mention it throughout the article - Raghavi is also a doctor, an M.S in ENT. Truly a power couple!

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