All India Chess Federation (AICF) President Sanjay Kapoor expressed his thoughts on the ongoing FIDE World Cup final between Indian grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa and world number one Magnus Carlsen. After the second game of classical chess ended in a draw, Kapoor noted that Carlsen could have been more aggressive and taken more chances during the game. He expressed confidence in Praggnanandhaa’s abilities and predicted that the 18-year-old Indian grandmaster would emerge victorious in the tie-breaker scheduled for Thursday.

The FIDE World Cup final between Praggnanandhaa and Carlsen has generated significant interest, and both players’ performances have been closely observed. The second classical chess game, which took place on Wednesday, ended in a draw, leading to a tie-breaker to determine the winner of the tournament. Kapoor emphasized his belief in Praggnanandhaa’s potential and saw a bright future for Indian chess, particularly with the strong performance of Indian players in the tournament.

“Today, Carlsen had white pieces and Praggnanandhaa had black. Magnus could have been aggressive and taken his chances. But he did not. It is a great feat for our young Turk Prag (Praggnanandhaa). When you see a young player like him do so well, draw games against Magnus, it means that he is playing on par with him,” stated the AICF chief in an interview with ANI.

In this year’s FIDE Chess World Cup, several Indian players showcased their skills. Notably, four out of eight quarterfinalists were Indians, including Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh D, Vidit Gujrathi, and Arjun Erigaisi. While Gukesh and Vidit were eliminated in the quarterfinals, Praggnanandhaa’s journey continued as he defeated strong opponents like Fabiano Caruana to reach the final against Carlsen.

“In the Olympiad last year, we had the podium finish in both men’s and women’s team events (Bronze medal in both categories). It has never happened before. Now our young Turks have started to show the results. India has started showing great results after a long time. Everyone knows our champion, Vishy (Vishwanathan Anand), but now I feel that our Chess future is bright. Superb performance by them, great admiration for all who went to the quarterfinals. Losing or winning one game does not define you. Having four out of eight quarterfinalists as Indians is a matter of pride,” stated Sanjay.

Talking about his relationship with the 18-year-old Chess prodigy, Sanjay stated, “For me, he is my son. He is a good child. Every time I see him, I feel like hugging him. You cannot explain that feeling. His mother and father feel really happy when they see me. Whenever I come to meet him, I ask him if he wants something, he says that ‘you are here, that is all’.”

On the tie-breaker scheduled for Thursday, the AICF chief said that Praggnanandhaa should win, for the nation, for its chess players and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom he credited for “blessing the Indian chess”.

“He (Praggnanandhaa) will win, no second thoughts, no second questions asked. I want him to win. He is our country’s son, he should win.  Our PM has a golden touch, a way to motivate others. It is because of him that we are doing so well. When you meet him, you feel energised. The face of Indian chess has changed ever since he gave it his blessings. So we have to win it for him, for such a dynamic PM, for every Indian and for every chess player in this country,” he concluded.

The tie-breaker procedure involves two rapid chess games, each with a time control of 25 minutes plus a 10-second increment per move. If necessary, further tiebreaks might involve slower blitz games with a time control of 10 minutes plus a 10-second increment per move. As the final outcome remained uncertain after the classical chess games, the tie-breaker was eagerly anticipated to determine the winner of the FIDE World Cup being held in Baku, Azerbaijan.


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