Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa defeated world no 1 Magnus Carlsen in the eighth round of the Airthings Masters, an online rapid chess tournament.
Praggnanandhaa won with black pieces in 39 moves in a Tarrasch variation game early on Monday to halt Carlsen’s run of three straight wins.
You can watch the closing stages of the match with commentary from Tania Sachdev and Peter Leko from 4:05:38 in the link below:
The Indian GM was in joint 12th spot after eight rounds with eight points. His spectacular win over Carlsen comes after a moderate run in the earlier rounds, which included a solitary victory over Lev Aronian, two draws and four defeats.
He drew against Anish Giri and Quang Liem Le and lost to Eric Hansen, Ding Liren, Jan-Kryzstof Duda and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi, who lost the world championship match a few months ago to the Norwegian world no 1 Carlsen, is on top of the standings with 19 points followed by Ding Liren and Hansen (both on 15 points).
In the Airthings Masters, a 16-player online rapid tournament, a player gets three points for a win and one for a draw in the preliminary rounds. Seven more rounds remain in the preliminary phase.
“His results in the past six months has swung between extremes. In some games he has been playing like a 2750 player, in others he’s operating at a 2550 level,” Praggnanandhaa’s coach RB Ramesh told ESPN India. “The fluctuation can be worrying and needs to be stabilised. This win against Magnus is important. Beating one of the strongest players in chess history is a huge moment for him.”
“This is such a massive moment, if Pragg scores this win here it is going to be such a massive moment,” Indian player Tania Sachdev who was on commentary said towards the closing stages of the match and called it a historic moment at the end of the match when Carlsen resigned.
Peter Leko, Hungarian Grandmaster said at the end of the match, “Absolutely. Let’s not forget Pragg already beat Levon [Aaronian]. Sensational, I can understand now what’s happening in India. Everybody goes crazy, no? It’s incredible, with a powerful performance. It’s not like a lucky win.”
“I am delighted to have beaten Carlsen. It will give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the tournament and future also,” Praggnanandhaa told PTI over phone.
Praggnanandhaa was not celebrating big just yet and said he wanted to stay focussed on the rest of the tournament. “I have to focus on the upcoming matches. After the match I just wanted to rest,” he said. “No special plan or preparation for the Carlsen match. I just wanted to enjoy playing against him and not put too much pressure on myself (of taking on the world champion).”
His spectacular win over Carlsen comes after a moderate run in the earlier rounds, which included a solitary victory over top-10 player Levon Aronian, two draws and four defeats. He drew against Anish Giri and Quang Liem Le and lost to Eric Hansen, Ding Liren, Jan-Kryzstof Duda and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Details of the match are available here.
With PTI inputs