Praggnanandhaa wants to beat Carlsen in classical format too

Having got the better of the likes of World No 1 and World Champion Magnus Carlsen, top Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri, and World No 22 Wei Yi of China to secure a runners-up place in the Chessable Masters, wonder boy of Indian chess R Praggnanandhaa on Friday said he would like to emulate his recent success in rapid chess into the classical format, the longer version of the game and one day beat them in that also.

Pragg, as he is known fondly in the circuit, had to appear for his Class XI exams from the quarterfinals onward in the Chessable Masters, the fourth leg of the nine-event online rapid tournament, Champions Chess Tour conducted by the Play Magnus Group.

Pragg had earlier participated in the first on-the-board event of the Tour in Oslo. In the last three months or so, he has beaten World No 1 Carlsen twice in the rapid format.

Pragg lost to China’s World No 2 Ding Liren in the two-day, two matches final in the tiebreak, having fought back after losing in the first match to level scores on Thursday before losing in the blitz playoffs.

He said he got good results against the top players in rapid chess having played against them many times in recent months.

“I need more games to (play against them). I have got lot of experience playing them in rapid chess as I have been playing them a lot, thanks to the Champions Chess Tour which is a good thing. I just hope that I will get to play them more in classical and hope to translate the success in that format also. But I think in classical games you have to play much smarter and I hope to do well in that also,” said Pragg during an online press conference organised by the All India Chess Federation (AICF).

The 16-year-old school student said he loved playing and winning against the top players but was not elated by the results as winning a match against them is “nothing compared to what they have achieved”.

“I don’t try to celebrate at all after I win these matches as I think this is nothing compared to what they have achieved. It’s definitely is a big thing but not something like they have all achieved so much,” he said.

The 16-year-old Pragg, a former age-group world champion who became an International Master at the age of 10 and Grandmaster at 12, the second youngest to do so before others went on better his record, had to play tough matches well past midnight, wake up and rush to his school after 3-4 hours sleep to write his exams before rushing back home to take some rest and get ready the next match, usually played late evening and night as per European time zone.

Thus, most of the questions centered around his attempts of playing Chessable Masters in between exams. Pragg said initially he thought it would be easy and that he would play in the night and study during the day but in the end, it turned out to be tough. He said it was a good thing that he had prepared a bit before the tournament and then there was some gap between exams, which gave him time and the opportunity to manage things.

He said he has to analyse his games in the Chessable Masters to find where he went wrong and learn from those mistakes.

“Many things to learn, I have to go through the Games again to analyse them, to see where I went wrong. I think in the first match of the final, the two games I lost, there are some mistakes I made so there are some things that I can learn. I was completely outplayed in one of the games, it shouldn’t happen so easily. I will have to work on that. Yeah, there are many things and I will work on them before my next event,” said Pragg.

His trainer RB Ramesh said Pragg has made steady progress over the years and would have been in a better position in terms of strength and ranking if he had not lost two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the main quality that sets him apart from other young players is his ability to understand that he still has to work hard on various aspects of his game.




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