Teenaged-Indian grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa carved out one of the most defining wins in his still fledgling career to upset World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the Airthings Masters, an online rapid chess tournament, on Monday. It was a moment to savor for the Indian and he did so in disbelief by resting a palm to his face following the prompt decision to resign by Carslen after move 39 due to his inescapable position. His win became a toast to the country as many woke up to the unprecedented news. He became the only third Indian to beat Carlsen in tournament play following the footsteps of his mentor and legend Viswanathan Anand and P Harikrishna.
However, what stood out after his momentous run, was his ability to not to go over the hill with the success and remain content. The Chennai-prodigy stalled celebration and rather chose to sleep over it. “I’m just going to go to bed,” Praggnanandhaa told espn.in
American pop legend Frank Sinatra’s famous hit ‘my way’ would perfectly define the body language and approach of Praggnanandhaa as he believes in no other way of getting things done, believes mentor and legend Anand. His never-say-die spirit further helps his cause largely.
“What I really admire about him is that he takes the blows and does it his way, as the song goes,” Anand said.
“In Wijk aan Zee he had some really tough blows but still fought and beat (Andrey) Esipenko in the last round. The first day in the current tournament was really bad for him but on the second day he came up with two very good wins. His fighting spirit is really something,” he adds.
Praggnanandhaa rose to fame for the first time after becoming the youngest International Master in history back in 2016 at the age of 10 years, 10 months and 19 days. And he continues to go strong with all the makings of a legend.
“Before the pandemic, he was in a really good form and reached 2600 Elo rating at the age of 14. The long break in tournaments impacted him quite a bit, particularly in confidence,” Praggnanandhaa’s coach RB Ramesh said.
“His results in the past six months has swung between extremes. In some games he has been playing like a 2750 player, in others he’s operating at a 2550 level. The fluctuation can be worrying and needs to be stabilised. This win against Magnus is important. Beating one of the strongest players in chess history is a huge moment for him,” he added.
Interestingly, he was also the second-youngest GM, after Sergey Karjakin, at 12 years, 10 months, 13 days and continues to leave a mark on the chess map of the world.
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