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Praggnanandhaa nears chess crown

Just right after toppling world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana in four semifinal tiebreaker games, young Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa buckled back to work and faced the best in the world, Magnus Carlsen, in the FIDE World Cup finals Tuesday night in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Without much rest from Monday night’s monumental conquest, the Indian boy wonder Praggnanandhaa, 18, tries to make history against the highest ranked player in chess history and claim the coveted World Cup, also the only missing trophy in Carlsen’s gallery.

Game 1 of the best-of-two classical chess format games was underway as of press time with Praggnanandhaa hoping to add Carlsen’s scalp among his latest set of victims.

Aside from Italian-American Caruana’s name, already included among defeated prey previously are second seed Japanese-American Hikaru Nakamura in the Round-of-64.

Praggnanandhaa defended well and drew against Caruana in the two games which had 25 minutes, plus 10 seconds increment each, as the American failed to sustain attacks.

With the game shifting to a faster, 10-minute plus 10 seconds format, the young Indian, playing the white side of the Hungarian defense, pounced on an over-extended bishop move on the 29th that resulted in the capture of a pawn nine moves later.


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