Praggnanandhaa sets up Chess World Cup final clash with Carlsen  


For Praggnanandhaa, giant slaying is not new in this tournament. He had earlier defeated far more higher-rated players, including US GM Hikaru Nakamura, world No. 2 by rating…reports Asian Lite News

India’s 18-year old Grandmaster (GM) R. Praggnanandhaa (ELO 2,707) on Monday entered the FIDE World Cup final after defeating world No. 3 by rating, American GM Fabiano Caruana (2,782), in the semifinal tie-break games played at Baku, Azerbaijan.

The final score stood at 3.5-2.5 in favour of the Chennai youngster. After drawing the first two tie-break games, the Indian slayed Caruana in the third game and drew the next one.

The match went into tie-breaker after the players drew their two classical games earlier. In the tie-breaker, the first two games had ended in draw. The young Indian then won the third game.

Praggnanandhaa will now cross swords with world No. 1 and former world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the final.

Having already defeated world No. 2 and world No. 3 in the tournament, will Praggnanandhaa be able to defeat the world No.1 is the question doing the rounds in chess circles now.

With this win, Praggnanandhaa also qualified to play in the Candidates Tournament, the winner of which will be the challenger to Chinese GM Liren Ding, the reigning world champion.

As per the International Chess Federation or FIDE’s rules, the top three players in the World Cup qualify for the Candidates Tournament.

For Praggnanandhaa, giant slaying is not new in this tournament. He had earlier defeated far more higher-rated players, including US GM Hikaru Nakamura, world No. 2 by rating.

India has never performed so well in the World Cup Open Category, though former world champion GM Viswanathan Anand had won the tournament earlier when it was held under a different format.

At Baku this time around, four Indian GMs — Praggnanandhaa, D. Gukesh, Arjun Erigaisi and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi — made it to the quarterfinals in a field of over 250 players.

Apart from Praggnanandhaa, there was one more giant slayer from the Indian side. And that was Gujrathi who had humbled world No. 5 GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (2779) of Russia.

All is not lost for the other three Indian players — Gujrathi, Gukesh and Erigaisi — to take a shot at the world champion’s title.

“There are a couple of other tournaments the Indian players can play and get qualified for the Candidates Tournament. The other three players reached the quarterfinals in this strong tournament. Hence, they can still qualify for the Candidates.

“That said, the Indian government and the All India Chess Federation (AICF) should provide all kinds of assistance to the youngsters to become the world champion,” International Arbiter and chess coach R.R. Vasudevan said.

Kasparov hails Indian prodigy

Former World Chess Champion and Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov has congratulated Indian grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa who stormed into the final of the FIDE World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Praggnanandhaa defeated World No. 3 Fabiano Caruana to reach the final of the FIDE World Cup, and his mother was also present at the event to witness her son’s triumph.

Kasparov called his mother’s support “a special kind of support” and extended wishes to the Indian Grand Master for his exceptional performance. 

“Congrats to @rpragchess —and to his mother. As someone whose proud mama accompanied me to every event, it’s a special kind of support! The Chennai Indian defeated two New York cowboys! He has been very tenacious in difficult positions,” Kasparov wrote in his tweet.

The Indian chess prodigy managed to beat the American player 3.5-2.5 after tiebreaks. He will face World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen for the title clash.

Earlier, Praggnanandhaa beat compatriot Arjun Erigaisi 5-4 in a sudden death tie-break to book a place for himself in the semifinals on Thursday. The 17-year-old Praggnanandhaa has already secured a spot in next year’s Candidates event.

Praggnanandhaa created history by advancing to the final of the FIDE World Cup, his coach RB Ramesh expressed his immense pride in Praggnanandhaa’s exceptional performance in the global tournament and said that he is optimistic about Prags chances in view of the openings strategies discussed.

“I am extremely proud that he has been doing phenomenally well in this World Cup and he qualified for the World Cup final. And what I hear is he is the youngest to do so. And also he is the only Indian to qualify for the final,” coach Ramesh told ANI.

The final matches of the FIDE World Cup will begin on Tuesday. (ANI)

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