17-year-old Indian Grandmaster Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu defeats world champion Magnus Carlsen
India's Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa came back strongly from a game deficit to stun world champion Magnus Carlsen in tiebreaks in the seventh and final round thus finishing runner-up in the FTX Crypto Cup, the second major on the Champions Chess Tour.
Starting the round two points behind the Norwegian Carlsen, the 17-year-old Pragg was looking down and out after losing the third of the four rapid games. But Carlsen, who was steering the fourth game to a draw, blundered in the endgame and the Indian capitalized on it to take the match into blitz tiebreaks.
In the four rapid games, Praggnanandhaa created a number of chances in the drawn first game, defended superbly in the second another draw went down in a tense third encounter before capitalizing on Carlsen's mistake to win the fourth.
He dominated the blitz games to win two points, taking his total to 15. Iranian-French teenager Alireza Firouzja claimed three points in the final round to tie with Pragg at 15 points but eventually had to be satisfied with third place.
The win in the third rapid game meant that Carlsen took his total to 16 points, and thus emerged the champion, winning the FTX Crypto Cup for the second year in a row.
Carlsen notched up a third win of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour season and his first Major win. The result also stretches his lead at the top of the USD1.6 million Tour leaderboard and wins him the tournament's unique NFT trophy.
Pragg and Carlsen were neck-and-neck throughout the whole tournament with the youngster putting in a real statement performance throughout.
But in Round 7 of the all-play-all event, Pragg faced the real acid test -- world No. 1 Carlsen. The youngster had chances in the first game and then had to defend like a lion in game 2. Finally, he ran out of steam in the third.
Carlsen clinched the win that guaranteed him the title and in classic Magnus-style -- with a piece of endgame brilliance and a huge sense of relief, according to a release on Sunday by the organisers of the event, Play Magnus Group.
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