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Airthings Masters R5-8: Praggnanandhaa beats Magnus Carlsen for the very first time

by Shahid Ahmed - 21/02/2022

Until yesterday, Vishy Anand and Pentala Harikrishna were the only two Indians ever to beat Magnus Carlsen in a tournament game. Praggnanandhaa changed that fact in the eighth round of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Airthings Masters. The 16-year-old boy from Chennai, scored an important victory over the world champion as the latter made a tactical error in the endgame. The prodigy ended the day the exact way he started his day, by winning his game. He scored 7.0/12 on Day 2, taking his overall score to 8.0/24. Nepomniachtchi has taken the lead 19.0/24, followed Ding Liren and Eric Hansen at 15.0/24 each. Carlsen's score is 13.0/24. Round 9 starts tonight at 10:30 p.m. IST.

Praggnanandhaa beat Aronian and Carlsen within hours apart

There was never a doubt that Praggnanandhaa has what it takes to beat the world's best. It was just the lack of opportunity hindered the talented kid from showcasing his skills. Becoming a regular at Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2022 season means he will get plenty of opportunities. He is not planning on waiting anymore as he showed why he belonged there by defeating two-time FIDE World Cup winner Levon Aronian and the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen on the very same night.

Praggnanandhaa showed why he is the prodigy

Round 5: Praggnanandhaa - Aronian: 1-0

Praggnanandhaa started the day with a victory against Levon Aronian.

Position after 25.Nb5

White has got himself a pleasant position after 25.Nb5. Find out the correct plan for white which Praggnanandhaa executed in the game.

Position after 33...Qxb4

Black should have taken the knight 33...Nxb5 to minimize White's attack. 33...Qxb4 only made things worse for Black after 34.Nxc7 Nxc7 35.Rxc7 Ra2 36.Qf3! threatening Qxf6 with a double attack on g7 and d8. Rest was just a matter of technique, which Praggnanandhaa converted beautifully into a win.

How Praggnanandhaa completely outplayed Aronian | Video: ChessBase India

Keymer - Giri: 1-0

Vincent Keymer started the day with a victory over Anish Giri. The Germany no.1 made a beautiful sacrifice which turned things completely in his favor.

Position after 22.Rxf7

Try to calculate all lines after 22.Rxf7 and figure out why it works.

Round 6: Mamedyarov - Praggnanandhaa: 1-0

Praggnanandhaa not getting a good position out of the opening almost forced him to try something against Shahkriyar Mamedyarov.

Position after 22...Qg1

22...Rfd8 was a better alternative. Black does not lose material after 23.Bxc6 bxc6 24.Rxe7 Kf8. 22...Qg1+ did not do any good for Black as the rooks remain undeveloped. 23.Bc1 Bc5 24.Rg2 Qe1 25.Rxb7 Rac8 26.g6 and White's attack on the kingside is crushing. There is not much Black can to do about it.

Round 7: Praggnanandhaa - Giri: 0.5-0.5

Praggnanandhaa drew with Anish Giri comfortably.

Round 8: Carlsen - Praggnanandhaa: 0-1

Praggnanandhaa undoubtedly scored the biggest victory of his career when he defeated Magnus Carlsen for the very first time in a tournament game.

Position after 32.Nc3

The world champion made a rare tactical error 32.Nc3 in a seemingly equal endgame. Try to find out why it is a blunder. Praggnanandhaa found it and wrapped up the game in another seven moves.

Final moments of Praggnanandhaa beating Magnus Carlsen | Video: ChessBase India
16-year-old Praggnanadhaa beats World Champion Magnus Carlsen | Video: ChessBase India

Exactly a month after their first-ever over-the-board encounter at Tata Steel Chess 2022, Praggnanandhaa beat Carlsen | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2022

How the universe reacted to Pragg's victory over Carlsen

The maestro Vishy Anand

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar

Round 5 in progress | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Replay the live stream

Airthings Masters 2022 Round 5-8 Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 5-8 games

Standings after Round 8

Ian Nepomniachtchi has taken sole lead 19.0/24 | Photo: chess24

All games will start from 10:30 p.m. IST between 19th and 26th February 2022.

Links

Official site

Tournament regulations


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