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How Praggnanandhaa beat Carlsen: Both experimented and had fun; Pragg won the match, Carlsen won the tournament 


On the morning of his match against World No 1 Magnus Carlsen, R Praggnanandhaa’s sister Vaishali sent him a text – “Don’t worry. Just beat Magnus.” On Monday, the 17-year-old Indian chess prodigy did just that, winning his final match against the Norwegian in a tie-breaker to secure second position in the FTX Crypto Cup. Carlsen had already won the tournament after winning Game 3 of their clash. This was because even if Praggnanandhaa made a comeback in the remaining games, Carlsen would have won a point on the basis of making it to the tiebreaker.

With a second-place position, Praggnanandhaa takes home $37,000 in prize money. But more importantly, he now has three wins over Carlsen in the last six months alone. It was evident that the 31-year-old was lacking the motivation to go all out once the win was secured in the third round.

“I was feeling terrible today; I didn’t get enough sleep; I was just not in good shape. I’m very happy and relieved to have won the tournament. Obviously, I would have wished to have done better today, it’s really kind of embarrassing to lose the last three games but overall, the emotions are obviously positive. I wish that I could have kept my level going right till the very end. I didn’t but nevertheless it’s a great result,” said Carlsen to Chess.com after the series ended.

Both players were in fact, short of motivation once Carlsen won Game 3. With not much left to play for, experiments started to take place. 16…b5 by Carlsen in the fourth game was one of those moves that was more a fun attempt by Carlsen to put Prag under pressure.

RB Ramesh Praggnanandhaa’s coach RB Ramesh. (FILE)

“I think Magnus just wanted to have more fun, that’s it,” said Praggnanandhaa. “This 16…b5 is unnecessary.  I think he just wanted to have fun and try to beat me.”

Praggnanandhaa later told Chessbase India’s YouTube channel that he was trying to keep things light after the result of the tournament was decided in the third game. “This game I was just trying to exchange all the pieces. After I lost that third game, I didn’t really care whether I won or not. I was just trying to play and have fun. Even if I had lost, I wouldn’t be too sad about the result. It would have been fun to play the Armageddon round,” said Praggnanandhaa.

In the second blitz game between the two, Carlsen was all set to take the victory. But the Norwegian was unable to force Armageddon from a winning position and then blundered further to hand the win to his Indian counterpart. It also bode well for the Indian GM that with time winding down, there was little to no sense of pressure.

Praggnanandhaa’s coach RB Ramesh spoke on ChessBase India’s YouTube channel and rued the missed opportunity that was there for his ward in his first game.

“In the first game he was up a piece and that was a costly miss. Overall, I thought the game qualities were pretty good. He saved many difficult positions. Even in the fourth round, which he won, the risk that he took was not necessary at all.

“Strictly speaking, in the rapid match it was tight but he won in the blitz. It was probably because Magnus was under pressure already after missing many chances. I think he would have been very disappointed at the way he blundered 9c.5 in the first round,” said Ramesh.

On the morning of his match against World No 1 Magnus Carlsen, R Praggnanandhaa’s sister Vaishali sent him a text – “Don’t worry. Just beat Magnus.” On Monday, the 17-year-old Indian chess prodigy did just that, winning his final match against the Norwegian in a tie-breaker to secure second position in the FTX Crypto Cup. Carlsen had already won the tournament after winning Game 3 of their clash. This was because even if Praggnanandhaa made a comeback in the remaining games, Carlsen would have won a point on the basis of making it to the tiebreaker.

With a second-place position, Praggnanandhaa takes home $37,000 in prize money. But more importantly, he now has three wins over Carlsen in the last six months alone. It was evident that the 31-year-old was lacking the motivation to go all out once the win was secured in the third round.

“I was feeling terrible today; I didn’t get enough sleep; I was just not in good shape. I’m very happy and relieved to have won the tournament. Obviously, I would have wished to have done better today, it’s really kind of embarrassing to lose the last three games but overall, the emotions are obviously positive. I wish that I could have kept my level going right till the very end. I didn’t but nevertheless it’s a great result,” said Carlsen to Chess.com after the series ended.

Both players were in fact, short of motivation once Carlsen won Game 3. With not much left to play for, experiments flowered. 16…b5 by Carlsen in the fourth game was one of those moves that was more a fun attempt by Carlsen to put Prag under pressure.

“I think Magnus just wanted to have more fun, that’s it,” said Praggnanandhaa. “This 16…b5 is unnecessary.  I think he just wanted to have fun and try to beat me.”

Praggnanandhaa later told Chessbase India’s YouTube channel that he was trying to keep things light after the result of the tournament was decided in the third game. “This game I was just trying to exchange all the pieces. After I lost that third game, I didn’t really care whether I won or not. I was just trying to play and have fun. Even if I had lost, I wouldn’t be too sad about the result. It would have been fun to play the Armageddon round,” said Praggnanandhaa.

In the second blitz game between the two, Carlsen was all set to take the victory. But the Norwegian was unable to force Armageddon from a winning position and then blundered further to hand the win to his Indian counterpart. It also bode well for the Indian GM that with time winding down, there was little to no sense of pressure.

Praggnanandhaa’s coach RB Ramesh spoke on ChessBase India’s YouTube channel and rued the missed opportunity that was there for his ward in his first game.

“In the first game he was up a piece and that was a costly miss. Overall, I thought the game qualities were pretty good. He saved many difficult positions. Even in the fourth round, which he won, the risk that he took was not necessary at all.

“Strictly speaking, in the rapid match it was tight but he won in the blitz. It was probably because Magnus was under pressure already after missing many chances. I think he would have been very disappointed at the way he blundered 9c.5 in the first round,” said Ramesh.





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