Praggnanandhaa vs Carlsen: Chess World Cup final ends in draw, heads for tie-break

Praggnanandhaa and world number one player Magnus Carlsen will play faster-paced tie-break games on August 24, until a winner emerges.
R Praggnanandhaa
R Praggnanandhaa
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The second game of the Chess World Cup final between India’s 18-year-old chess grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa and world number one player GM Magnus Carlsen ended in a draw after 21 moves on Wednesday, August 23. The duo are now headed for a tie-break on Thursday, August 24. 

Two tie-break games in rapid format will be played on Thursday, with a time control of 25 minutes and a ten-second increment per move. If these games also result in a draw, Praggnanandhaa and Carlsen will play two more games in rapid format, with a time control of 10 minutes and a ten-second increment per move. If these games end in a draw, they will play two more games with a time control of five minutes and three seconds increment per move. If these also end in a tie, blitz games with a time control of three minutes and two seconds increment per move will be repeated till there’s a winner.

The competition is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan, where Praggnanandhaa and Carlsen played Game 2 of the final on Wednesday. Earlier on Tuesday, the first game of the final between Praggnanandhaa and Carlsen also ended in a draw after 35 moves.

Praggnanandhaa entered the finals after defeating the world number 2 player Hikaru Nakamura and number 3 player GM Fabiano Caruana. With this win, Praggnanandhaa has qualified to play in the Candidates Tournament, the winner of which will be the challenger to 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.

Praggnanandhaa is only the second Indian chess player to enter the semi-finals of the World Cup, after Viswanathan Anand in 2002. After the World Cup, the teen grandmaster will compete in the Candidates event in 2024. This tournament will decide on who will compete against the current world chess champion, Ding Liren.

Praggnanandhaa grew up in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He picked up chess when he was just two years old. He developed an interest in the game because of his older sister Vaishali, who began playing when she was six years old. Vaishali went on to become a grandmaster in 2018 and an international master in 2021. 

Speaking of his qualification to the finals, Praggnanandhaa had told PTI, “I didn’t expect to play Magnus in this tournament at all because the only way I could play him was in the final, and I didn’t expect to be in the final. I will just try to give my best and see how it goes!” 

This will not be the first time that Praggnanandhaa is going up against Magnus Carlsen. Earlier in 2022, the youngster not only played against but also beat Carlsen in an online competition lasting 39 moves. In all, Praggnanandhaa has faced Carlsen 19 times before this, with six games ending in a draw and Carlsen winning eight games, according to Hindustan Times. 

Ahead of the final, several politicians and sportspersons had extended their support and wishes to the 18-year-old.

At Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where the competition is underway, four Indian GMs – Praggnanandhaa, D Gukesh, Arjun Erigaisi and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi – made it to the quarterfinals in a field of over 250 players.

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