Kolkata: India’s latest chess sensation R Praggnanandhaa may have fallen short of his World Cup title dreams, going down to Magnus Carlsen in the final, but the 18-year-old prodigy on Sunday asserted that the five-time world champion Norwegian was “far from invincible”.
Praggnanandhaa had a dream World Cup run in Baku last month when he became the youngest ever finalist and in the process qualified for the Candidates tournament in 2024 where the winner will face China’s Ding Liren in the World Championship.
The Indian teenager is the third youngest player after Bobby Fischer and Carlsen to qualify for the Candidates tournament.
“It’s not like he (Carlsen) is invincible,” Praggnanandhaa said of Carlsen in an exclusive interview with PTI.
As a matter of fact, the Chennai boy has won over Carlsen five times, but all of them came in online matches. He has never beaten the Norwegian world number one in a board match.
“He’s definitely strong. But, he does lose games. It’s just I think he’s consistent in winning. Doesn’t lose many, that’s why. He’s just strong, mentally and physically. Basically strong in everything.” As of now, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana and Praggnanandhaa have qualified the Candidates tournament while five more spots are still up for grabs and will be decided by the end of this year.
Praggnanandhaa said he’s not going to put any added pressure on him and he wants to take the Candidates as any other tournament.
“I don’t think it is going to be added pressure. I just want to take it as another tournament. If you think it’s very important, then you start putting added pressure. I just want to play like how I play in the last three tournaments,” he said.