Praggnanandhaa was so drained by the exacting game of quick wits that all he wanted was to catch some sleep. “I just want to hit the bed,” he told the International Chess Federation website with groggy eyes. It’s likely that he wouldn’t have gotten any sleep at all.

Aggressive from the start, he pushed Carlsen onto the back foot but missed a glorious chance to kill the game in the middle stage. But he regained his wits and bounced back, piling relentless pressure on Carlsen, who cracked and blundered.

AS WORLD champion Magnus Carlsen sat bemused, palms on his face, after realizing that he was going to lose the eighth round of the Airthings Masters online rapid chess tournament, a wave of shock spread across the face of his would-be slayer R Praggnanandhaa. Wide-eyed and unable to fathom what had unrolled on the other side of the screen in Oslo, he covered his mouth with his hands in the 2 am the silence of his home in the Chennai suburb of Padi. Latest Updates.

Young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa stuns world no 1 Carlsen in  Airthings Masters chess

Airthings Masters: Praggnanandhaa

Praggnanandhaa was so drained by the exacting game of quick wits that all he wanted was to catch some sleep. “I just want to hit the bed,” he told the International Chess Federation website with groggy eyes. It’s likely that he wouldn’t have gotten any sleep at all.

It was his “I can’t believe it” moment, the moment that was always a part of his wildest dream. Norwegian World No 1 Carlsen, the undisputed emperor of chess, a bonafide GOAT, the marketing face of the game, was always his idol. “Beating him once is my biggest dream,” he had told this newspaper soon after becoming the second youngest Grandmaster in the world four years ago. “He (Carlsen) has a solution for even the most complicated problem,” he had explained.

But this time, there was no solution and Praggnanandhaa’s dream was finally realized. That he’s just the third Indian, after Viswanathan Anand and P Harikrishna, to accomplish the rare feat of beating Carlsen underlines his incredible potential. That he toppled him in 39 moves and with black pieces, a perceived handicap in the game, brightens the dazzle of his victory.

Praggnanandhaa’s resurgence is also a timely fillip for the game’s profile in the country. It was a timely reminder of his talent, too.

The world often forgot that he was still a child, not even a teenager, and the expectations were often unrealistic.

But the relative anonymity of that period eased the pressure. “There was no unnecessary distraction and he could focus entirely on his game. He was not obsessed with that record, but there was too much attention on him.

Absolute Thriller! || Praggnanandhaa vs Carlsen || Tata Steel (2022) -  YouTube

The step into the big league, pitted in regular match-ups with seasoned pros, was not without a stutter or two. But far from being disillusioned, setbacks and near-misses toughened him. “He is always cheerful and willing to learn, especially from his mistakes. He hates losing games, but does not sulk and moves forward.

Carlsen was not the only elite player he scaled in the tournament. Hours before beating him, he had out-smarted Armenian GM Levon Aronian. Some time ago, he had defeated Wesley So and Michal Krasenkow, too. He has broken into the 2600 Elo pointing ceiling, a rarefied space in chess.

He is, after all, just 16. At this age, Anand was not yet a Grandmaster. But despite the number of points he may go on to pile up in his career, or whoever he would defeat in the future — he wants to be a world champion — he will not forget the first time he beat Carlsen, his hero, and inspiration. The night he wanted to sleep, but could not.

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