R Praggnanandhaa has become the second Indian (after Viswanathan Anand) to enter the Chess World Cup semi-finals.

After a head-to-head with Erigaisi Arjun on Thursday, the 18-year-old also secured a spot in the Candidates tournament in 2024, the winner of which will be playing against China's Ding Liren for the world crown.

Born and brought up in Chennai, Praggnanandhaa was inspired by his sister Vaishali Rameshbabu, who has won the U-14 and U-12 world youth championships.

Praggnanandhaa started playing chess at the age of 5, and by the time he turned 7, he secured the title of FIDE Master, an open title that is below Grandmaster and International Master.

His father, who was affected by polio at a young age, was at first wary of letting his son play the sport due to financial constraints.

“Our financial situation was such that we could hardly manage to fund her classes and ferry her around. And when Praga took a keen interest in chess, my wife and I could not afford to let him pursue it,” he told The News Minute.

“But the passion in him to play chess was unstoppable, I had to give in and put him in coaching classes. And he has been unstoppable since.”

At the age of 10, Praggnanandhaa became the youngest International Master in history.

Two years later, at the age of 12, he became the youngest Grandmaster after Russian chess star Sergey Karjakin.

For his list of achievements, he was appreciated by many famous chess players including Viswanathan Anand.

Speaking to The Indian Express in 2016, his coach GM RB Ramesh said, “He has a fantastic memory, which lets him remember his old matches. He knows the mistakes he’s made without being told. The way he analyses his games is way beyond his years.”