Indian Grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, on Thursday, finished as the runner-up at the 2023 Chess World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan after losing the tiebreaks 0.5-1.5 against former world champion Magnus Carlsen.
Earlier, the duo had played out draws in the two classical games to push the title clash into tiebreaks. While the players shook hands after a 35 move-draw in the first game, the second game was even shorter as Carlsen, who was playing with the white pieces, offered a draw just 30 moves into the contest to enforce a tiebreak.
The 18-year-old Praggnanandhaa, who had entered the final on the back of consecutive tiebreak victories over Arjun Erigaisi and Fabiano Caruana in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, would not have any such results against Carlsen.
The Norwegian, who was reportedly sick with food poisoning during the classical games, left no room for error for the Indian in the tiebreaks.
The 32-year-old won the first 25-minute rapid tiebreak game with the black pieces as Praggnanandhaa erred in the 42nd move. The teenager resigned five moves later and was left in a must win position for the next game.
The Tamil Nadu lad, however, could not manage any incisive edge in the second game and eventually agreed to a 22-move draw, handing Carlsen his first-ever World Cup title.
“I could have done better in the tie-breaker,” Praggnanandhaa told FIDE after the match. “These are shorter time-control and Magnus is very good at it. After the first game, I could have given a better fight, But being in a must-win situation with black pieces against Magnus was difficult. But I am happy to qualify for the Candidates, that’s very important.”
The result of the final notwithstanding, the Indian flies back home from Baku $80,000 richer and a Candidates ticket in his pocket.