Today’s episode of the New In Chess podcast features an interview with Grandmaster Ramachandran Ramesh, also known as Ramesh RB or simply Ramesh. Ramesh is an award-winning chess coach, with pupils all around the world. He is also a popular chess author. His most recent title, Improve Your Chess Calculation, was published by New In Chess in 2022.

Ramesh is best known as the trainer of Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, popularly known as Pragg, and his sister Vaishali. Under Ramesh’s guidance, Pragg would eventually become, for a time, the highest-rated Indian player in the world, a position previously occupied by Vishy Anand for over three decades. But Ramesh’s influence on Indian chess extends beyond the performances of one player. As its number of grandmasters has grown from 1 in 1988 to 84 in 2024, Ramesh has played a continuous role in chess’s incredible rise in India.

Ramesh talks to Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam about Pragg’s win over World Champion Ding Liren in Wijk aan Zee, his relationship with Vishy Anand, and his coaching philosophy. 

00:00-01:52 Intro
01:52-04:43 Pragg’s victory over Ding in Wijk aan Zee, becoming India’s highest-rated player
04:43-06:34 Pragg’s extreme popularity in India
06:34-08:08 Pragg’s journey from a young prodigy to a world-class player
08:08-11:01 Vishy Anand and The Indian chess revolution
11:01-13:30 Ramesh’s transition from player to coach
13:30-23:13 Ramesh’s coaching method, cultural differences between India and the Western world
23:13-27:12 How Ramesh inspires his pupils
27:12-27:47 AD BREAK
27:47-29:58 Winning awards as a coach, the importance of enjoying the journey
29:58-31:16 Crosspollination between chess and other sports in India
31:16-32:49 What enables peak performance in a player?
32:49-34:40 The importance of happiness
34:40-38:00 Ramesh’s chess school in Chennai, India
38:00-40:04 Ramesh’s first meeting with Pragg
40:04-41:21 Pragg’s World Championship potential
41:21-42:58 The importance of sponsorship
42:58-45:45 Is Ramesh worried about the amount of pressure on Pragg’s shoulders?
45:45-48:00 Breakfast at Vishy’s
48:00-50:15 Ramesh’s relationship with Anand
50:15-51:08 How Ramesh looks back on his journey
51:08-51:48 Ramesh’s gratitude to Dirk Jan

Enjoy listening!