Chess prodigy Praggnanandhaa stuns Fabiano Caruana, meets Carlsen in final
Chess prodigy Praggnanandhaa stuns Fabiano Caruana, meets Carlsen in final

NEW DELHI: In a stunning showcase of skill and determination, Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa achieved an extraordinary victory over the World No. 3, Fabiano Caruana, with a score of 3.5-2.5 in the tie-breaker round of the FIDE World Cup chess tournament held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Monday.

This remarkable triumph not only solidifies Praggnanandhaa's reputation but also makes him the third-youngest player in history, following the footsteps of legends like Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen, to secure a spot in the Candidates tournament.

Following a classical series of two games that concluded with a 1-1 draw, the 18-year-old Indian prodigy demonstrated his prowess by outwitting the highly-regarded American Grandmaster in an intense tie-breaker.

This exhilarating display of mental acumen resulted in Praggnanandhaa emerging victorious over his adversary. Now, he is poised to face off against Norway's Carlsen in the final, marking a significant milestone in his chess career.

"Pragg advances to the final! He overcomes Fabiano Caruana in the tiebreak and is now set to take on Magnus Carlsen. What a performance!" exclaimed chess legend Viswanathan Anand on 'X', previously known as Twitter.

"I didn't anticipate playing against Magnus in this tournament at all since the only scenario would be meeting him in the final, and I didn't foresee reaching the final. I'll simply give my best and see how it unfolds!" he stated after securing his spot in the championship showdown.

"It's an incredible feeling to qualify for the Candidates; I was truly determined to secure this position."

Following a 1-all result in the two 25'+10" games, Praggnanandhaa triumphed in the first 10'+10" game against Caruana, bringing him a draw away from setting up a final confrontation with world No.1 Carlsen.

In the initial tie-break game, the Indian Grandmaster stood strong against considerable pressure from Caruana, managing to secure a draw in a riveting encounter. The second rapid game also ended with a similar outcome, leading the semifinals into the 10'+10' series.

Praggnanandhaa has been enjoying a remarkable run in the World Cup, and his most significant victory prior to Caruana was against another American, Hikaru Nakamura, the world No.2 and the second seed, followed by his win against fellow countryman Arjun Erigaisi.

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