R Praggnanandhaa, the teen prodigy from India will take on five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen for the title of World Cup champion on Tuesday. The 18-year-old defeated GM Fabiano Caruana 3.5-2.5 in a semifinal decided by a single tiebreak win.
On the other hand, the 32-year-old Carlsen, who stepped down from his decade-long title as world champion after he chose to sit out the world championship battle, citing lack of motivation and not wanting to put himself through the rigours of another campaign.
Here’s everything you need to know about the R Praggnanandhaa vs Magnus Carlsen clash:
Table of Contents
Praggnanandhaa’s journey to final
Praggnanandhaa was given a bye in the first round of the event in Baku. In the second round the 29-year-old French player Maxime Lagarde was no match to him as the Indian GM won the it by 1.5-0.5. Pragg’s next opponent was an experienced Czech GM David Navara, but he breeze past with a score of 1.5-0.5.
In the next round, Praggnanandhaa eliminated American grandmaster and World No 2 Hikaru Nakamura (World No 3 as per live ratings)in the tiebreakers. The duo had managed to draw both of their classical games in the fourth-round encounter. Praggnanandhaa win the match with a score of 3-1. Hungarian Ferenc Berkes was up against Prag in the fifth round but was no match for the Indian, who triumphed 1.5-0.5 to reach the sixth round, where he would take on compatriot Arjun Erigasi.
Praggnanandhaa reached the semifinals of the FIDE World Cup after beating compatriot Arjun Erigaisi in a frantic sudden-death blitz showdown after eight previous games failed to find a winner.
In the semifinal, Praggnanandhaa defeated his 31-year-old opponent, World No. 3 Fabiano Caruana (World No 2 as per live ratings) to become the first Indian since Viswanathan Anand in 2002 to make it to the final of the FIDE World Cup.
With the win the youngster has also officially confirmed his spot at the 2024 Candidates Tournament, the winner of which will challenge world champion Ding Liren.
Carlsen’s journey to final
Magnus Carlsen also received a bye in the opening round. He eased past Georgian Pantsulaia Levan 2-0 in the second round, winning both games. His countryman Tari Aryan was no match to Carlsen as he won the match by 1.5-0.5
Carlsen faced his more stiff competition against German Keymer Vincent. Vincent won the first match, but Carlsen bounced back in style in the next game to make it 1-1. Thereafter, on the bounce, they played three draws, then Carlsen rose up to the occasion by winning the tie-breaker.
In the pre-quarterfinals, Carlsen steamrolled the Ukrainian grandmaster 2-0. In the quarterfinals, Carlsen was in the mood, despite playing with black, punished Gukesh for just a slight oversight and found his way through an arduous endgame to win the first game in 49 moves. In the next game, a draw was enough for Carlsen to go through to the semifinals.
Carlsen defeated Azerbaijan’s Nijat Abasov 1.5-0.5 in the semifinal and will be against Praggnanandhaa, who in 2016 became the youngest international master in history at age 10, and had the upper hand against one of the greatest of the game.
Did you know?
Vincent Keymer was the only one who took Magnus Carlsen to a tiebreaker. Praggnanandhaa, on the other hand, played tiebreaker against Nakamura, Arjun and Caruana.
Has Pragg defeated Carlsen?
Yes, a few times. Praggnanandhaa defeated Carlsen in February 2022 at the Airthings Masters (an online rapid chess tournament), in the process becoming the youngest person to defeat Carlsen since he became world champion in 2013.
The second time he stunned the Norwegian was at the Chessable Masters online rapid chess tournament on May 20.
Incidentally, Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of Praggnanandhaa defeating the then World No 1 Carlsen in three consecutive games in one day — one rapid and two blitz — at the 2022 FTX Crypto Cup.
How will the final be played?
Carlsen and Pragg will take on each other in two classical games, the first one on Tuesday and the second one on Wednesday. . The time control for each game shall be: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 1.
If the two classical games do not throw up a winner, two tie-break games in rapid format shall be played on Thursday with a time control of 25 minutes for each player + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
If those two tie-break games do not find us a World Cup winner, the players will play two more games in rapid format with a time control of 10 minutes for each player + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
Gadar 2’s record-breaking box office performance ‘has blown everyone’s brains away’: Karan Johar applauds Sunny Deol’s film
Asia Cup 2023 Team India Squad Announcement: Shreyas Iyer-KL Rahul back, Tilak Varma receives maiden ODI call up
If that also does not find a winner, there will be two more games with the time control of 5 minutes for each player + 3 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
If that also does not find a winner, the contest enters sudden death where a single blitz game with a time control of 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1 shall be played to determine the winner. This single game will be repeated until there’s one winner.
How to follow the Praggnanandhaa vs Carlsen final?
You will get all the updates here.