Praggnanandhaa’s Remarkable Triumph: Entering the FIDE World Cup Finals
In a remarkable turn of events at the ongoing FIDE World Cup chess tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan, Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa achieved a stunning victory in the semi-finals. His opponent, world number 3 Fabiano Caruana, was left astounded by Praggnanandhaa’s strategic prowess on Monday.
The triumph secured Praggnanandhaa’s place in the highly anticipated summit clash of the tournament, a feat that has only been previously accomplished by the legendary Viswanathan Anand among Indian players.
Anand’s Acclaim: A Historic Achievement
In an exclusive conversation with CNN-Smartkhabrinews, Viswanathan Anand expressed his admiration for Praggnanandhaa’s achievement, labeling it as a “historic achievement” by the young chess prodigy.
Anand further elaborated, “He is the first Indian to qualify for a world cup semi-final since e. Gukesh was the first Indian to go above me in the ratings list after 37 years, and if Pragg wins, he could go above that. He is also the first after me to play in the Candidates tournament. So three of my records have vanished in just one tournament!”
Stiff Competition: Praggnanandhaa vs. Carlsen
This will mark the 20th encounter between Praggnanandhaa and Magnus Carlsen. Although Carlsen holds a slight advantage in their head-to-head battles, the upcoming final promises an intense clash of strategies.
Anand shared his insight on the impending showdown, stating, “Magnus is striving to clinch his first world cup title, which will undoubtedly fuel a motivated Carlsen. Pragg will need to bring his A-game to counter Carlsen’s determination.”
Emphasizing the intricacies of victory, Anand added, “Winning isn’t solely about impressive moves; it’s also about the games you strategically don’t lose. Each half-point secured throughout the tournament holds significant value. Pragg’s performance has been exceptional since June, displaying a shift from his previous style. However, Carlsen is also delivering his best.”
Testing Times Ahead
Praggnanandhaa’s proficiency in both attack and defense has positioned him strongly. Yet, the final match against Carlsen will undoubtedly put his skills to the test.
Anand acknowledged the importance of Pragg’s previous victory against Carlsen, stating, “Having conquered Carlsen before, Pragg holds the knowledge that victory is possible. Many players facing Magnus often lack this assurance.”
Anand also shed light on their strategic discussions, noting, “Pragg and I have extensively discussed Carlsen’s gameplay. While in Baku, we spoke about it. However, I opted to give him space to maintain his focus.”
Beyond Technicality: The Mental Game
According to Anand, the impending battle will extend beyond technical prowess. The mental aspect will play a pivotal role. Anand questioned, “Can Pragg exhibit the required tenacity?” He predicted that nerves would influence the players, leading to potential mistakes.
Highlighting the challenges in the opening phase, Anand added, “The initial moves will be the most demanding for Praggnanandhaa against Carlsen’s strategic approach.”
A Journey and a Name
Anand reflected on Praggnanandhaa’s journey and widespread popularity, stating, “Pragg has embarked on an incredible journey. His popularity is evident, and many players hold warm regard for him. It’s intriguing that while some jest that he’s a ‘new’ Indian, his name still carries ‘Anand.’ His family’s support is evident in his journey.”
As the stage is set for the grand finale, the chess world anticipates an exhilarating battle between the young Indian prodigy and the seasoned champion.