Indian teenage grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa stunned world no.
The 16-year-old prodigy was hailed by many on social media including cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and All-India Chess Federation President Sanjay Kapoor after he followed five-time former world champions Viswanathan Anand and P. Harikrishna to order To defeat Carlsen, the 31-year-old who is also the reigning world champion.
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Praggnanandhaa won in move 39 with Black in a Tarrasch Variations game early on Monday to end Carlsen’s streak of three straight wins.
“I’m happy to have beaten Carlsen. It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the tournament and also for the future,” he said PTI via phone.
Not celebrating yet for someone who has brought down the world’s best chess player, Praggnanandhaa said he wanted to focus on the rest of the tournament.
“I have to focus on the upcoming games. After the game, I just wanted to rest,” he said with a smile.
The teenage GM also said there was no concrete plan for the game against the Norwegian.
“No specific plan or preparation for the Carlsen match. I just wanted to have fun playing against him and not put too much pressure on myself [of taking on the world champion]said Praggu, as he is affectionately called by friends and coach RB Ramesh.
His coach, meanwhile, said he was delighted with his ward’s triumph over the best player in the world.
“It’s a great feeling. I’m very proud of his performance. That should do a lot for his confidence,” said Ramesh.
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The Indian GM is tied for 12th after eight rounds with eight points.
“Always proud of our talents! Very good day for @rpragchess,” tweeted Viswanathan Anand, who has eight wins against Carlsen to his credit.
His spectacular win over Carlsen comes after a mediocre run in previous rounds that included a singles win over top-10 player Levon Aronian, two draws and four losses.
He drew with Anish Giri and Quang Liem Le and lost to Eric Hansen, Ding Liren, Jan-Kryzstof Duda and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
What a wonderful feeling that must be for Pragg. To have beaten all 16 and the experienced and decorated Magnus Carlsen, and with Black at that, is magic! Best wishes for a long and successful chess career. You made India proud!” Tendulkar tweeted.
Welcoming the young GM, Sanjay Kapoor tweeted: “16-year-old Indian chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has humiliated none other than World Chess Champion @MagnusCarlsen. Wow! This young boy deserves a huge round of applause for his remarkable achievement.” Praggnanandhaa is the fifth youngest person ever to become a GM.
Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha also congratulated the young star.
“Congratulations to young Indian grandmaster R #Praggnanandhaa on his stunning victory over reigning world champion GM #MagnusCarlsen during the ongoing #AirthingsMasters chess tournament. Wish him all the best for the future,” he tweeted.
Praggnanandhaa will play four rounds later on Monday night, taking on Nodirbek Abusattorov, Andrey Esipenko, Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexandra Kosteniuk.
Nepomniachtchi, who lost the World Championship match against Carlsen a few months ago, leads the table with 19 points, followed by Ding Liren and Hansen (both with 15 points).
In the Airthings Masters, a 16-player online rapid tournament, a player is awarded three points for a win and one for a tie in the preliminary rounds. Seven more rounds remain in the preliminary round.