It’s rare to see five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen happily chat with his opponent and discuss in depth the moves after a classic board game, which also happens in the final. FIDE World Cup.
It’s not just any opponent. It was the young Indian pioneer, 18-year-old R Praggnanandhaa, a man the Norwegians truly loved. So much so that when their first match in Baku ended in a draw after just 35 moves on Tuesday, the duo chatted happily for a few minutes, exchanging notes and possibly discussing issues. situations may arise.
A far cry from the time when Carlsen faced Indian legend Viswanathan Anand in the finals of the World Chess Championships in 2013 and 2014. Then it was young Carlsen who beat Anand to take his first title on in 2013, never really interacted with an older opponent. Even his answers in press conferences are true. Looks like he doesn’t want to give anything away.
But the Norwegian is different when it comes to his treatment of young Indian superstars, often talking about how they are revolutionizing chess not only in India but around the world.
When Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh D and Arjun Erigaisi were on his team at the inaugural Global Chess Tournament, it took them time to eat together to get his wisdom. And the young people did exactly that.
“Carlsen is really a friendly person. For us, discussing chess with him was a great experience. We played some practice games with him. We often talk about different positions, we talk about different games. Just knowing how he thinks, how his mind really works, his first intuitive moves in different positions was a great experience for all of us, ” Praggnanandhaa told The Indian Express during that tournament.
He can be beaten as world number 1. 2 Hikaru Nakamura and world No. 3 Fabiano Caruana on his way to the final, but Praggnandhaa is well aware that Carlsen is on a higher level and so he will have to excel to not only be the first Indian to enter the semi-finals. World Cup since Anand (2002) but also to win it.
The young player, playing with white, tried a different approach in the opening, which seemed to confuse Carlsen, who went back in time and tried to decide his move. “Pragg moves around a bit with his opening. I really didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t prepare for c4 (first move made by Praggnanandhaa). Then I started playing some of the usual moves,” Carlsen said after the game.
Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay said it looks like Carlsen is trying his best for Game 2, where he will play white.
“Given the way Carlsen has performed in this tournament, it was clear that he decided to win one of the Classics matches and avoid going into the tiebreak,” said Thipsay.
Carlsen’s only loss in this tournament was to 18-year-old German player Vincent Keymer. After defeating him in the tiebreak, Carlsen not only didn’t lose a single game, but also avoided a tiebreak on his way to the finals. His closest challenge was against Gukesh in the quarterfinals when the highest rated Indian tennis player almost equalized a set to make it into the tiebreak. Carlsen got a draw and won. It’s almost like he wants to avoid tiebreaks.
Praggnanandha should know that. His best chance of winning the World Cup would be if he beat Carlsen in the tiebreak. Thipsay said the shorter the format, the better the chances of Praggnanandhaa.
“Carlsen has the perfect speed and lightning speed against players of his generation. We see that doesn’t have to be the case when he’s facing the younger generation. That’s why Praggnanandhaa has to defend well with black on Wednesday to get Carlsen to the tiebreak. I would go further and say that Praggnanadhaa must try to beat Carlsen in a 10-minute game or even blitz. Praggnanandhaa’s strength lies in its ability to detect rapid movements,” says Thipsay.
Thipsay was referring to the tiebreaks where Praggnanandhaa won against Nakamura, Erigaisi and Caruana in this tournament. Despite losing the game, the Chennai guy still defended firmly and won the matches.
One would think that given the advantage of a day off, Carlsen would be the fresher of the two. Quite unusually, he was found sipping coffee between moves, and despite the timing constraints, he got up to get himself a bottle of water. The 32-year-old revealed after the game that he had food poisoning.
“Normally, I would probably have a slight advantage of having a day off while he (Pragnanandhaa) had to play a tough tiebreak yesterday, but I have been in a pretty tough situation for the past few days. past day. I got poisoned after the match with Abasov. I haven’t been able to eat anything for the past two days,” he said.
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INTERACTIVE: You can follow the step-by-step progress of the first match of the final between Praggnanandhaa and MAGnus Carlsen below, and click on the annotations to the right of the table to review how the game has evolved:
Trying to use this to his advantage, Carlsen says being sick makes him calmer. “I don’t have the energy to worry,” says Carlsen.
The Norwegian, who has decided not to challenge for the world championship title, will hope the stomachache doesn’t hinder his hopes of winning his first World Cup crown. Across the board was Praggnanandhaa, who was always hungry.