Since Viswanathan Anand, Praggnanandhaa has been the first Indian to reach the semifinals
R Praggnanandhaa secured victory over his fellow countryman and friend Arjun Erigaisi in a sudden death tie-break at the FIDE Chess World Cup held in Baku, Azerbaijan. This triumph propelled the 18-year-old prodigy into the semi-final stage of the tournament, where he is set to face off against Fabiano Caruana.
Praggnanandhaa’s achievement marks a significant milestone, as he becomes the first Indian player since Viswanathan Anand to advance to the semi-finals of the FIDE Chess World Cup.
Reflecting on his performance, he stated, “I was just trying to calm down and play my best. Was not thinking of Candidates but was concentrating only on the games. To lose 30 seconds without doing anything was upsetting, but I managed to recover.”
Praggnanandhaa and Erigaisi had each secured victories in their respective classical games, necessitating a decisive tiebreaker. The intense showdown witnessed the player with the black pieces emerging victorious in all games until he secured a win with the white pieces in the ninth game, ultimately prevailing with a 5-4 score.
This victory underlines Praggnanandhaa’s exceptional skill and places him at the forefront of the chess world, following in the footsteps of India’s renowned chess champions.