R Praggnanandhaa through to Chess World Cup final, to face Magnus Carlsen
R Praggnanandhaa became the first Indian after Vishwanathan Anand to book his place in the Candidates Tournament after teaching the world cup final.
Teenage chess sensation R Praggnanandhaa stormed into the final of the FIDE World Cup 2023 after he defeated world no. 2 Fabiano Caruana in the tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was required to separate the winner after the two-match classical series between Praggnanandhaa and Carauna ended in a draw in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The 18-year-old Indian grandmaster will take on world no. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the final on Tuesday. Carlsen defeated Azerbaijan's Nijat Abasov to book his spot in the final.
By reaching the final, Praggnanandhaa, who hails from Chennai, became only the second Indian ever to qualify for the summit clash of the FIDE World Cup after the legendary Viswanathan Anand. In the meantime, Praggnanandhaa sealed his place in the prestigious Candidates Tournament, which will take place in 2024.
"It feels really good to qualify for the Candidates; I really wanted to fix this spot," said Praggnanandhaa after winning his World Cup semifinal against Caruana.
Earlier on Sunday, Praggnanandhaa drew the second game against Fabiano Caruana to push the contest into a tiebreaker.
The Tamil Nadu grandmaster tied the two-match classical series against Caruana 1-1. Sunday's match between world no. 23 Praggnanandhaa and Caruana ended in a stalemate in 47 moves.
In the first classical game on Saturday, Praggnanandhaa fought a gritty battle against the American grandmaster to share the honours in 78 moves.
Praggnanandhaa seals spot in Candidates Tournament
With his win in the semifinal, Praggnanandhaa has also booked his ticket to the 2024 Candidates Tournament in Toronto and will become only the second Indian to feature in the tournament after Anand.
The top three finishers at the FIDE World Cup are eligible for qualification into the 2024 Candidates Tournament, an eight-player chess tournament scheduled to be held from April 2-25, 2024, in Toronto, Canada.
The winner of the 2024 Candidates tournament will play in the World Chess Championship 2024 against the current World Chess Champion Ding Liren.
Anand first qualified for the Candidates tournament in 1993. He last qualified for the 2016 World Chess Championship Candidates tournament by virtue of losing the 2014 World Chess Championship match. No Indian has qualified for the Candidates other than him.