Indian teenage chess grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has received praise for his stunning victory over world number one Magnus Carlsen in an online championship.
Praggnanandhaa, 16, who in 2016 became the youngest international master in history at age 10, beat Carlsen late Monday in the Airthings Masters Rapid Chess Tournament.
“It’s time to go to bed because I don’t think I’ll have dinner at 2:30 a.m.,” a visibly calm Praggnanandhaa said after the 39-move victory over black.
Others have beaten Carlsen — including India’s Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna — but Praggnanandhaa is the youngest since the Norwegian became world champion in 2013.
Anand, a five-time world champion and hailed as the greatest chess player India has produced, tweeted, “Always proud of our talents! Very good day for @rpragchess.
Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar also joined in the praise for Chennai-born Praggnanandhaa, widely considered a future challenger for the world title.
“What a wonderful feeling this must be for Pragg. All 16 of them, and to have beaten the experienced and decorated Magnus Carlsen, and that too while playing with blacks, is magic!” wrote Tendulkar on Twitter.
“Best wishes for a long and successful chess career. You have made India proud!
Carlsen, 31, appeared to make a mistake at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event for a total prize pool of over $1.5 million.
On Monday, Carlsen had said he was still feeling the aftermath of a recent coronavirus infection.
“It was better today, but the first few days I felt good, but I didn’t have any energy and it was a little hard to concentrate,” Carlsen said.
Carlsen won his fifth consecutive world chess title in December, beating Ian Nepomniachtchi in a contest that saw the Russian lose his nerve after losing an epic eight-hour game, the longest ever played at a world championship.
The teenager’s victory follows a disappointing performance in the tournament so far where his previous win came in the eighth round against grandmaster Levon Aronian.
“His results in the last six months have fluctuated between the extremes,” Praggnanandhaa’s coach RB Ramesh was quoted as saying on ESPN.
“The fluctuation can be worrisome and needs to be stabilized. This win against Magnus is important. Beating one of the strongest players in chess history is a big moment for him.