Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa defeats world champion Carlsen in Norway chess

Praggnanandhaa’s first classical victory over Carlsen. At just 18 years old, Praggnanandhaa showcased his exceptional skills, leading the open section of the six-player tournament with a score of 5.5 out of nine points following this impressive win.

| Updated: 30 May, 2024 6:20 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Indian chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa achieved a significant milestone by defeating world number one Magnus Carlsen in a classical game during the third round of the Norway Chess tournament. This match, held on Carlsen’s home turf, marked Praggnanandhaa’s first classical victory over Carlsen. At just 18 years old, Praggnanandhaa showcased his exceptional skills, leading the open section of the six-player tournament with a score of 5.5 out of nine points following this impressive win. Carlsen, meanwhile, fell to fifth place in the tournament standings.

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Praggnanandhaa, who was the runner-up in the previous year’s FIDE Chess World Cup, utilized the white pieces to execute a series of strategic moves that secured his victory. Prior to this classical game win, Praggnanandhaa had already recorded victories over Carlsen in both rapid and blitz chess formats.

The second round of the tournament saw all classical games end in draws. Carlsen, Alireza Firouzja, and Ding Liren won their respective Armageddon games, each earning 1.5 points. Praggnanandhaa, who previously led 2-0 against World Champion Ding Liren, achieved his first classical draw in this round before Ding Liren won the Armageddon tie-breaker.

Other notable games included a closely contested classical match between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, which concluded in a draw. Carlsen later triumphed in the Armageddon game, demonstrating his ability to perform under high-pressure situations. Alireza Firouzja and Fabiano Caruana also drew their classical game, with Firouzja winning the subsequent Armageddon game.

Following his win over Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa now leads the tournament, with USA’s Fabiano Caruana in second place after his victory over China’s Ding Liren. USA’s GM, Hikaru Nakamura, commented on Carlsen’s approach, suggesting that the world champion takes more risks against younger players like Praggnanandhaa, which might have contributed to his defeat.

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Praggnanandhaa reflected on his victory, expressing a desire to improve further. “I’m feeling good. The game was quite interesting. I got a very good position from the opening. I kind of misplayed it at some point. I allowed bishop e3, f6,… then I was told that I still played correctly. Maybe I was better throughout the game,” he said, as quoted by The Indian Express. Despite his success, Praggnanandhaa wasn’t entirely satisfied with his performance and expressed a determination to push harder, stating, “I didn’t think I played really well. I did find some best moves. It’s not my best game for sure.”

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