NEW DELHI: Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa went down fighting to world no.1 Magnus Carlsen in the FIDE World Cup Final in Baku on Thursday but the 18-year-old chess prodigy garnered huge praise and appreciation for his sensational run in the tournament.
Praggnanandhaa lost to Carlsen in the tie-breaks after the classical games in the final ended in a stalemate.
However, despite the defeat, Praggnanandhaa managed a historic feat, becoming only Indian player after Viswanathan Anand to book a spot in the Candidates.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the wishes, stating that Praggnanandhaa made the nation proud and his run to the final was no small feat.
“We are proud of Praggnanandhaa for his remarkable performance at the FIDE World Cup! He showcased his exceptional skills and gave a tough fight to the formidable Magnus Carlsen in the finals,” PM Modi wrote on ‘X’, formerly Twitter.
“This is no small feat. Wishing him the very best for his upcoming tournaments.”

President of India Droupadi Murmu also credited Praggnanandhaa for displaying the “highest level of excellence”.
“Eighteen-year-old Grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has won the heart of every Indian by reaching the final and becoming the runner-up in FIDE’s World Cup Final. He displayed highest level of excellence while facing one of the all-time greats of the game,” she wrote on the social media platform.
“I convey my heartiest congratulations to him for this phenomenal performance. He has made the nation proud.
“His mother Mrs. Nagalaxmi, the Velammal School and all his mentors and coaches deserve special mention for contributing to his exceptional journey amid challenges and hardships. I wish Praggnanandhaa greater glory in the future.”

The two classical games on Tuesday and Wednesday between the Indian and Carlsen had ended in draws, forcing the final to a tie-break.

Carlsen on Thursday overcame a stiff challenge from his 18-year-old Indian opponent in the first tie-break game, winning it in 45 moves. The second 25+10 tie-break game then ended in a draw in 22 moves.
Former Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore lauded the young Indian for giving his best.
“You either win, or you learn. You gave your best and won the hearts of over 140 crore Indians, @rpragchess! That’s all that matters.”
“Congratulations to the World Champion Magnus Carlsen!” added the Athens Olympic silver medallist shooter.

Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar also took to social media to congratulate Praggnanandhaa for his feat.
“Congratulations on an incredible tournament, @rpragchess! Keep chasing your dreams and making India proud.”

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, a former chess player himself, wrote: “Hold your head high Praggnanandhaa. The whole nation is proud of you.”

Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders also sent out its wishes for the 18-year-old Indian.
“Runner-up in the #FIDEWorldCup2023 at the age of 18! The future is yours, Praggnanandhaa!”

Indian actor Hrithik Roshan also admired his resilience.
“Triumph is not limited to the final result. For me, you are a true CHAMPION!,” he wrote.
“Congratulations @rpragchess for being in top form throughout the #FIDEWorldCupFinal. More power to you, Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa!”.

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