UPDATE: The first game of the final was already concluded in a draw, where Paggnanadha showed his exceptional skills and managed a stalemate in 35 moves while playing with white pieces.
Original Story: Indian chess sensation Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, affectionately known as Pragg, is set to captivate the global stage as he engages in a decisive match against the five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen in the final of the FIDE World Cup.
This intense chess encounter has garnered fervent support from millions of Indians, eagerly anticipating the showdown taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Praggnanandhaa's exceptional journey to the FIDE World Cup final has been characterized by a series of strategic victories. Particularly noteworthy is his resounding triumph over World No. 3 Fabiano Caruana, propelling him into the eagerly awaited final match. As the prodigious Indian chess talent prepares to showcase his skills on the international platform, he carries with him the collective hopes and aspirations of a nation.
Who is Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa?
Hailing from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Praggnanandhaa's introduction to the world of chess was sparked by his elder sister Vaishali's initiation into the game at the young age of 6, when Pragg himself was a mere 2 years old.
While Vaishali achieved grandmaster status in 2018 and became an international master in 2021, Praggnanandhaa diligently honed his abilities through focused training, particularly at the Bloom Chess Academy, where he refined his craft and gathered invaluable insights. A remarkable track record of accomplishments underscores Praggnanandhaa's extraordinary aptitude. His ascent in the chess arena commenced when he was just 6 years old, securing the second position in the under-7 Indian championships. Subsequently, he clinched the gold medal at the Asian Championships and proceeded to dominate the World Youth Chess Championships in both the under-8 and under-10 categories.
In a historic achievement that echoed his prodigious capabilities, Praggnanandhaa secured victory in the ninth-round game at the KIIT International Chess Festival in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, in 2016. This triumph earned him the title of international chess master at an astonishingly young age of 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days, solidifying his position as the youngest ever to attain this distinction. and a grandmaster at the age of 12, the second youngest at the time to do so. On 22 February 2022, at the age of 16, he became the youngest player to defeat then-world champion Magnus Carlsen, when he beat Carlsen in a rapid game at the Airthings Masters Rapid Chess Tournament.
The Crucial Final
The final marks a significant occasion for both players, as it signifies the first instance in their respective careers where they have advanced to this stage of the tournament. As Praggnanandhaa and Carlsen are competing in the final match in Baku, Azerbaijan, it presents a convergence of two exceptionally astute intellects in the realm of chess. While the Indian boasts the distinction of being the youngest international chess master, his Norwegian counterpart holds the record for the highest Elo rating in the history of the sport, with an impressive 2882.