India’s 16-year-old Grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa shocked world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the eighth round of the Airthings Masters online rapid chess tournament on Monday.
Praggnanandhaa halted Carlsen’s three-game winning streak on the second day of the 16-player all-play-all online tournament which is part of the Champions Chess Tour.
Both Pragg, the youngest player in the field, and Carlsen had a rough first day of the event which has four games played on each of three days (Feb 19-21) of the preliminary stage while three rounds will be played on Tuesday (Feb 22).
Carlsen had racked up three wins in a row as he charged up the points table of the event hosted by his company Play Magnus Group.
But then he ran into Praggnanandhaa in the eighth round and stumbled again as the Indian player capitalised on a blunder by the reigning world No. 1 to record his first win against Carlsen in any format of chess.
After losing three successive games on Sunday night, the Indian Grandmaster from Chennai ran into Carlsen and scored a memorable win.
Opting for Tarrasch variation in French Defence, Praggnanandhaa got an advantage as Carlsen blundered and the Indian won in 39 moves. This was his second win in eight games in this event.
Earlier, he defeated Armenian-American Levon Aronian and drew with Dutch GM Anish Giri and Le Quang Liem of Vietnam but lost to China’s Ding Liren, Eric Hansen of Canada, Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
Praggnanandhaa was thus placed 12th among 16 players with eight points in an event with football-style scoring in which a player gets three points for a win and one for a draw.
Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi scored three wins on the second day of the tournament that ended early on Monday and was leading with 19 points from a possible 24 points. Ding Liren and Hansen were sharing the second spot with 15 points each.
Carlsen (13 points) was sharing the fifth spot with Vincent Keymer of Germany while Aronian followed in the next position in the event in which the top eight placed players qualify for the knockout stage on February 23 which will also be played on chdess24.com’s online platform.