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Indian teen celebrated when he met World Chess Champion

Indian teenage chess grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa took credit on Tuesday for a stunning victory over world number one Magnus Carlsen in an online championship.

Praggnanandhaa, 16, who became the youngest international master in history in 2016 at the age of 10, defeated Carlsen late Monday at the Airthings Masters blitz tournament.

“It’s time to go to bed, because I don’t think I’m going to eat at 2:30 am,” said a visibly calm Praggnanandhaa after the 39-move win, playing black.

Others have beaten Carlsen – including Indians Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna – but Praggnanandhaa is the youngest since the Norwegian became world champion in 2013.

Anand, a five-time world champion and hailed as the greatest chess player India has produced, tweeted: “Always proud of our talents! Very good day to @rpragchess.”

Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar also praised Chennai native Praggnanandhaa, who is widely regarded as a future challenger to the world title.

“What a wonderful feeling that must be for Pragg. All 16, and the experienced and decorated Magnus Carlsen have beaten, and that too while playing black is magical!” Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.

“Best wishes for a long and successful chess career ahead. You made India proud!”

Carlsen, 31, appeared to blunder in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event for a total prize pool of more than $1.5 million.

On Monday, Carlsen had said he was still feeling the aftermath of a recent coronavirus infection.

“It was better today, but the first few days I felt okay, but I have no energy and it was a bit difficult to concentrate,” Carlsen said.

Carlsen won his fifth world title in a row in December, beating Ian Nepomniachtchi in a match in which the Russian lost his nerve after losing an eight-hour epic game, the longest ever played at a world championship.

The teenager’s win follows a disappointing performance in the tournament so far, where his previous eighth-round win over Grandmaster Levon Aronian came.

“His results over the past six months have fluctuated between extremes,” Praggnanandhaa’s coach RB Ramesh told ESPN.

“The fluctuation can be alarming and needs to be stabilized. This victory over Magnus is important. Beating one of the strongest players in chess history is a huge moment for him.”

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