Praggnanandhaa after beating Magnus Carlsen: 'His opening was provocative, I said he wanted to fight… It didn't bother me at all' | Chess News


Praggnanandhaa, the 18-year-old Indian 64-square phenom, managed to defeat world number 1 Magnus Carlsen for the first time in a classic match on Wednesday evening in a match on day three of Norwegian Chess, the home tournament by Carlsen.

What made the day sweeter was that even though Praggnanandhaa ended the day on top of the open leaderboard, Vaisali finished the third round at the top of the women's standings.

Carlsen threw what he himself called a “risky” opening to Praggnanandhaa, trying to surprise the Chennai teenager. But the ploy backfired. Despite being caught off guard, Praggnanadhaa quickly managed to put pressure on the five-time world champion.

“His opening was provocative. I said he wanted to fight, because otherwise he could play something solid. It didn't bother me at all. We will fight and see how it goes,” Praggnanandhaa said. The Indian Express after the victory.

Hikaru Nakamura, who was passing by after his match, remarked to Norwegian channel TV 2 Sport that Carlsen would only play such risky openings against a youngster, but not against veterans like him or Fabiano Caruana.

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What was remarkable about the victory for Praggnanandhaa is that the 18-year-old was trailing for most of the match against Carlsen.

“I feel good. The game was quite interesting. I got a very good position from the opening. I kind of misread it at one point. I allowed bishop e3, f6… then we told me that I was still playing correctly, maybe I was better throughout the match,” Pragg told some journalists in Stavanger after the victory.


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When asked if it was one of his best wins, Praggnanandhaa said, “I don't know, I'll have to check. I didn't think I played really well. I found some better moves. It's definitely not my best match.

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Carlsen himself made a few appearances in the confessional booth – a new addition to Norwegian Chess since 2015 – during the match.

“Obviously quite a risky opening choice today. I think his move 10.h3 was a little soft. He thought about it for a long time. I guess he was calculating f4 and the queen c5. I don't really think it's worse for black. So it was a bit of a waste of time. Apart from that, h3 can sometimes be used for rooks and queen for attacks. I wasn’t very impressed with that one,” Carlsen said in the confessional mid-match.

Pragg was behind from the start. By the tenth shot, Carlsen already had a 20-minute lead on the clock. Over the next four moves, the Indian teenager had just one hour on the clock with 26 more moves to complete to beat the first time check.

On the 13th move, when Carlsen slid his queen to d7, the rating jumped to indicate an advantage for Pragg.

After move 15, Carlsen made another quick confessional pit stop.

“I'm a little afraid he'll move to fe6 and d5 knight now. I'll take the knight and maybe castle on the queen side. But it looks pretty scary. I doubt it's objectively good for white, although I'm not sure. I feel that in other lines everything will be fine. BUT the d5 knight scares me a little,” Carlsen smiles before leaving the confessional.

The game began with much interest in the game room, which is usually as quiet as a library, as about 50 impeccably dressed employees of a financial company were present for the first shots of the six games. But most of them were focused solely on the Pragg vs. Carlsen match, almost forming a long line in front of their boards to take photos.

The game itself began with Pragg taking 31 seconds before playing 1.e4, pushing his king's pawn, which is arguably the most popular opening move with White. Carlsen responded by casually sliding his pawn to c5. An open Sicilian then appears.

Speaking later, Pragg said: “My preparation stopped at the d3 bishop. I didn't think he would play that and the c7 queen was also a surprise. After that, I didn't remember anything. »

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Amit Kamath is an associate editor at The Indian Express and is based in Mumbai. … Learn more

First published online on: 30-05-2024 at 01:28 IST

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