India's Praggnanandhaa beats Caruana; enters chess World Cup final

Wednesday 23rd August 2023 08:51 EDT

India’s 18-year old Grandmaster (GM) R. Praggnanandhaa 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. 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.

The first game of FIDE World Cup final between India's Praggnanandhaa and World No 1 Magnus Carlsen ended in draw after 35 moves. Both players will return for Game 2 of the final on Wednesday.

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