FIDE World Cup | Praggnanandhaa stretches world no. 1 Carlsen in finals to draw first round

FIDE World Cup | Praggnanandhaa stretches world no. 1 Carlsen in finals to draw first round

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The first classical game of the 2023 FIDE Chess World Cup final between Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa and World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen ended in a draw on Tuesday in Baku, Azerbaijan. With white pieces, the GM held his own against his highly-regarded opponent and forced a draw after 35 moves.

In a technically equal situation with white pieces and under extreme time pressure, Praggnanandhaa was able to hold Carlsen for a draw. On move 35, the Indian, who had played a strong game, consented to a draw.

After the match, Praggnanandhaa commented, "I don't think I was in any trouble at all." For the start of the second classical game which is part of the two-match classical series between them, Carlsen stands tall at an advantage due to him playing white and starting first.

Speaking to FIDE in the post-game interview, Praggnanandhaa said "Rb8, I felt I should have done something there. But maybe this position is just solid and I don't have anything. What I played there was not the best try but I could not find anything."

Carlsen, who has been ill as a result of food poisoning, claimed that despite taking a break, his physical condition wasn't the best.

"Normally, I would just probably have a bit of an advantage having a rest day while he had to play a tough tie-break yesterday but I've been in a pretty rough shape the last couple of days. I got some food poisoning after the game against (Nijat) Abasov. I haven't been able to eat for the last two days. This also meant that I was really calm because I had no energy to be nervous," the Norwegian added in jest.

Praggnanandhaa beat world No. 3 Fabiano Caruana 3.5-2.5 to go to the final. In addition to qualifying for the FIDE Candidates competition in 2024, the Indian adolescent became just the second player from his nation, after the famous Viswanathan Anand, to make it to the World Cup final.

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