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Chess World Cup: Praggnanandhaa Beats Caruana, Sets up Final Date With Carlsen

FIDE Chess World Cup 2023: R Praggnanandhaa also qualified for 2024's Candidates Tournament.

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India’s 18-year old Grandmaster (GM), R Praggnanandhaa entered the FIDE Chess World Cup final after defeating world number 3 by rating, American GM Fabiano Caruana (2,782), in the semifinal tie-break games played on Monday, 21 August, in Azerbaijan.

The final score stood at 3.5-2.5 in favour of the Chennai youngster. After drawing the first two tie-break games, the Indian slayed Caruana in the third game and drew the next one.

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The match went into tie-breaker after the players drew their two classical games earlier. In the tie-breaker, the first two games had ended in draw. The young Indian then won the third game. Praggnanandhaa will now cross swords with world No. 1 and former world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the final.

Having already defeated world number 2 and world number 3 in the tournament, will Praggnanandhaa be able to defeat the world number 1 is the question doing the rounds in chess circles now.

With this win, Praggnanandhaa also qualified to play in the Candidates Tournament, the winner of which will be the challenger to Chinese GM Liren Ding, the reigning world champion.

As per the International Chess Federation or FIDE’s rules, the top three players in the World Cup qualify for the Candidates Tournament.

Historic Campaign for India

For Praggnanandhaa, giant-slaying is not new in this tournament. He had earlier defeated far more higher-rated players, including US GM Hikaru Nakamura, world No. 2 by rating.

India has never performed so well in the World Cup Open Category, though former world champion GM Viswanathan Anand had won the tournament earlier when it was held under a different format.

At Baku this time around, four Indian GMs (Praggnanandhaa, D Gukesh, Arjun Erigaisi and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi) made it to the quarterfinals in a field of over 250 players.

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