R. Praggnanandhaa becomes first-ever Indian to reach Meltwater Champions Chess finals

INDICA News Bureau-

Indian chess whizz Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has bested Anish Giri in the semi-final of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Chessable Masters tournament on Wednesday.

This is the first time an Indian has reached the finals of the Meltwater Champions Chess tournament.

In a sensational match, the 16-year-old grandmaster went toe to toe with the highly-rated Dutchman.

The four-game rapid online match ended in a stalemate with both the players clinching two games each.

In the tiebreaker round, however, Praggnanandhaa prevailed over Giri with a brilliant display of the game.

Now Praggnanandhaa will face world No.2 Ding Liren of China, who got the better of world No.1 Magnus Carlsen in the other semi-final match.

Praggnanandhaa’s Class XI exams are currently underway. Several Indian media houses quoted the young grandmaster saying, “I have to be at school around 8.45 AM, and now it is 2 AM!”

Before the match, Giri, currently ranked 1 in the Netherlands, and 10 in the world, had jokingly tweeted about the timing of the game, “Isn’t that kid’s bedtime in Chennai?”

The 29-year-old Dutch champion, however, has accepted his defeat in the spirit of a true sportsman and made fun of his tweet after the match.

Former Indian cricketer and World Cup winner Sachin Tendulkar took to Twitter to congratulate Praggnanandhaa: “What a wonderful feeling it must be for Pragg. All of 16, and to have beaten the experienced & decorated Magnus Carlsen, and that too while playing black, is magical! Best wishes on a long & successful chess career ahead. You’ve made India proud!”


[Photo credit: @rpragchess/Twitter]