CHENNAI: Fulfilling a dream has its own charm. It’s filled with romance. For players, it’s the search for that perfect game or that elusive win. Early on Monday, R Praggnanandhaa lived that kind of a day when he beat World No 1 Magnus Carlsen.
To put the win in an Indian context, only two players have beaten Magnus Carlsen: Viswanathan Anand and P Harikrishna.
Carlsen, at one level, seems impenetrable. On Monday, during the Airthings Masters, a rapid online meet, the 16-year-old out-moved the world champion with black pieces.
Such is the Norwegian’s aura that people compare him with Gary Kasparov, who is regarded by many as the greatest player of all time. So, when a young Indian Grandmaster beats him, it is news.
Praggnanandhaa won with black pieces in 39 moves in a Tarrasch variation game to halt Carlsen’s run of three straight wins.
“It is a great feeling to beat Magnus Carlsen, who is world No 1 and one of the strongest players in the history of the game. This is certainly my best win to date,’’ he said.
The Indian GM is joint 12th after eight rounds with eight points. His win over Carlsen comes after a moderate run in the earlier rounds, which included a solitary victory over Lev Aronian, two draws and four defeats. Many felt that Carlsen could have underestimated the Indian prodigy.
“No way,” Praggnanandhaa pohpohs such a suggestion.
“Carlsen never underestimates any one. In world chess, and in particular, online players are very careful and watchful of their opponents. I did not do anything special. I played my normal game and capitalised on the openings I got.” The youngster has been working hard for this tournament by training with his coach.
“I have prepared well and in earnest for this tournament with my coach RB Ramesh. This win against Carlsen will motivate me to do well in the remaining games. The match goes on till early morning 3 am. I have to adjust accordingly and tune my sleep clock,” he said.