Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa’s dream run at the FIDE World Cup came to a heartbreaking end, as he faced defeat against the world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the tie-break on Thursday following a deadlock in the classical games.
Praggnanandhaa began the third day of his epic final in the FIDE World Cup on a strong note but the day, and match, ended with Carlsen, the world no. 1, winning his first ever World Cup, 2.5 – 1.5.
Carlsen dominated the endgame of the first tiebreak to win the first rapid game; that result and three draws (two in classical over the past two days), gave him the title.
With this win, the Norwegian has now won the one title that was missing from his illustrious cabinet, to go along with his five World Championship titles.
On the other hand, Praggnanandhaa will now play in the Candidates tournament in 2024, where the winner will face China’s Ding Liren in the next World Championship. The 18-year-old Indian is the third youngest player after Bobby Fischer and Carlsen to qualify for the Candidates tournament.
Despite his loss in the final, it was a tournament to remember for Praggnanandhaa. He has had to come through adversity in three previous rounds before the final, and did it with aplomb.
The young Indian had beaten both world no.2 Hikaru Nakamura and world no.3 Fabiano Caruana to reach the final. At the age of 18, Praggnanandhaa is the youngest Chess World Cup finalist ever to date.