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Praggnanandhaa goes down fighting in the Chess World Cup final to Carlsen

Praggnanandhaa goes down fighting in the Chess World Cup final to Carlsen

  • Praggnanandhaa drew the first two games against Carlsen.
  • Carlsen got the upper hand after defeating Praggnanandhaa in the first rapid game.
  • The World Cup performance has ensured a Candidates seat for Praggnanandhaa.

Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa has lost to former five-time World Chess Champion, Magus Carlsen in the final of the FIDE Chess World Cup. The first two games ended in a draw and therefore the match entered a tie-breaker. Carlsen, who has dominated chess after taking crown from India's Viswanathan Anand in 2013 won the first rapid game in the tiebreaker and managed to force a draw in the second to lift the championship.

This was Praggnanandhaa's first World Cup final and he had admitted before the final that he had not expected to be playing in the last round versus one of the sports all time greats.

The stunning performance in the FIDE World Cup in Baku has catapulted Praggu, as he is lovingly called, to the prestigious Candidates tournament.

The all-important first tie-break

Playing with white pieces, Praggnanandhaa had an advantage in the initial stages of the game and later maintained equality for a large part of the 47 move game.

However, the Indian player suffered a reversal from the 37th move onwards. At that point of time, the players were left with their two rooks and minor pieces -- two knights for Carlsen and a knight and a light coloured bishop for Praggnanandhaa.

The Indian player was also much behind on the clock and resigned on the 47th move.

The two will play one more game and Carlsen needing just a draw to clinch the title while Pragggnanandhaa needs a win to stay in the contest.

Praggu's journey so far

Hailing from Chennai, the hotspot of Indian chess, Praggnanandhaa has been in the spotlight since he made waves at a young age.

He won the national under-7 title to lay down the marker and has been on the rise ever since. At 10, he was an International Master and two years later, he became a GM.

Late in 2019, he achieved a ELO rating of 2600 at 14 years and three months and looked to be on the overdrive. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 came as a speed bump.

However, Praggnanandhaa shone in online tournaments and kept getting better. In 2021, he impressed in the Meltwater Champions Tour, scoring victories over top names like Sergey Karjakin, Teimour Radjabov and Jan-Krzystof Duda and drawing Carlsen.

In 2022, his stock rose further when he stunned Carlsen in the Airthings Masters rapid tournament. He became only the third Indian after Anand and P Harikrishna to win a game against the seemingly unbeatable Carlsen.

(With text input from wires)


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