The young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa produced a magical performance and won three straight games including two in the blitz tie-breaks to beat world No.1 Magnus Carlsen 4-2 in the final round of the FTX Crypto Cup on Monday.
Even though he put forth a winning performance over Carlsen, the 17-year-old could only end up at second place in the final standings. The Norwegian got the top prize on the basis of a higher number of points. He ended up with 16 match points to the Indian prodigy’s tally of 15.
“I’ve been playing badly all day, but now I’m getting the results I deserve… it’s never good to lose, but this is as good a time as any!,” Carlsen said after the match.
The first two games of the Carlsen-Praggnanandhaa match were drawn before the world No.1 upped his game by bagging the third game. The tables turned when the Indian emerged victorious in the fourth game to get the match into the tie-breaks. He put the Norwegian in a troubled spot by winning both the games in the tie-break.
Praggnanandhaa has been in amazing form this year and had previously beaten the world champion twice when the events were held online. He also played a crucial role in the India ‘B’ team clinching a bronze medal in the 44th chess Olympiad in Chennai, recently.
“I think it could have done better the last few days but I think overall 2nd is good,” Praggnanandhaa said after the game against Carlsen.
Praggnanandhaa started the tournament with a win over world no.4 Firouzja and also secured wins over Anish Giri and Levon Aronian.
“Fantastic finish towards the end! @rpragchess won in blitz tiebreak against Magnus #FTXCryptoCup ! Great defensive skills at crucial junctures, some good opening preparations, some bad decisions, overall very satisfying,” his coach R B Ramesh tweeted.
Final standings: 1. Magnus Carlsen 16 match points, 2. R Praggnanandhaa 15, 3. Alireza Firouzja 15, 4. Liem Le 12, 5. Jan-Krzystof Duda 11, 6. Levon Aronian 8, 7. Anish Giri, 8. Hans Niemann 0.