Teenaged Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa broke new grounds in the the Chess World Cup, scalping higher-rated opponents one after the other, and he "handled himself mostly" as far as the nuances of the game were concerned.
Praggnanandhaa was on his own at the Azerbaijan capital of Baku as his personal coach RB Ramesh was away in another country. His mother Nagalakshmi looked after him but not for matters relating to the tactics of the game.
Praggnanandhaa's routine during World Cup
"He (Praggnanandhaa) is handling himself mostly. I am just chatting on WhatsApp with him," Ramesh, himself a Grandmaster, told PTI.
"Praggnanandhaa is following a routine like sleeping nine hours at night, not skipping any meal, walking in the evening after the game and preparing four hours before the match (es)."
Despite the absence of a personal coach on tour, Praggnanandhaa only got better with each match and overcame nerve-wracking tie-breaks, including the one against talented compatriot Arjun Erigaisi.
Pragg's giant-killing run in Baku
He was on a roll, beating top stars like Hikaru Nakamura (world No.2) and Fabiano Caruana (world No.3) on way to the summit clash where he finally met his match in world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen, who clinched his maiden FIDE World title after beating Pragg.
By becoming the only Indian player after legendary Viswanathan Anand to book a spot in the Candidates tournament, the 18-year-old wonderkid from Chennai has proved that he will be the name to reckon with in future.
Grandmaster M Shyam Sundar, who is in Baku as the coach of the Indian contingent, said the players in general have their own routine and he was keeping them in good spirits through various activities.
"Players in general here have their own routine and have their own team helping in different parts of the world. I go for walks, play table tennis with them to keep them in good spirits, arrange good food for them, provide personal care to them and have casual discussions about the game," Sundar said.