16-year-old from India is youngest ever to defeat Magnus Carlsen during his World Chess Champion reign

16-year-old from India is youngest ever to defeat Magnus Carlsen during his World Chess Champion reign
Michelle De Pacina
February 22, 2022
Sixteen-year-old Indian chess grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa beat the World Chess Champion, and his idol, Magnus Carlsen.
Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, more commonly known by his nickname Pragg, became the youngest chess player to beat Carlsen during his reign as World Champion. In 39 moves, Pragg stood victorious over Carlsen in the Airthings Masters online rapid chess tournament.
Before the two players went into battle, Carlsen had already won three games in a row, while Pragg finished Day 1 of the tournament with three straight losses, according to CNN. On Sunday, he bounced back and shocked viewers with his victory over the Norwegian five-time World Chess Champion.
“I’m just really happy,” Pragg said in an interview with Chess24. “I think yesterday wasn’t so good. Today, I think my play was much better, so I hope this continues for the next two days.”
Pragg’s victory also made him the third Indian grandmaster to win against Carlsen after grandmasters Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna, according to CNN. He also became the youngest international master at the age of 10 in 2016.
When asked about his victory celebration, Pragg noted the time difference and said, “It’s about time to go to bed, as I don’t think I will have dinner at 2:30 in the morning.”
Defeated player Carlsen attributed his blunders to the lingering effects of COVID-19. He had reportedly tested positive before the tournament, according to NPR
“It’s been pretty bad. I played a couple of decent games, but the rest of them have been poor. I need to do a lot better than that,” Carlsen said, according to the International Chess Federation
“It’s been a little bit better today, but the first couple of days I was feeling like I’m OK, but I didn’t have the energy, which made it hard to focus because every time I tried to think I blundered,” he added. “It was a little bit better today, but still pretty bad.”
Featured Images via chess24.5 (left), chess24 (right)
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