Former Indian Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay on Thursday paid tribute to teen prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa after his silver medal-winning performance in the FIDE Chess World Cup 2023 in Baku.
Praggnanandhaa lost to world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the final but became the first Indian in 21 years to clinch a medal at the World Cup after Viswanathan Anand's gold in 2002.
18-year-old Praggnanandhaa was also the youngest player from India to achieve the feat.
Even though Pragg lost in the final, the entire country rejoiced and celebrated his record-breaking run at the World Cup and hailed the Chennai-born GM for putting up a stellar show and making India proud.
His efforts were also hailed by Thipsay, who spoke to the Free Press Journal about Pragg and Carlsen's World Cup final which went into a tiebreaker after Game 1 ended in a draw on Wednesday.
Makings of a future superstar
"Pragg is a very strong character, he wasn't overwhelmed when he played any other player. He didn't play badly at all, it was Carlsen who made some good strategic decisions," Thipsay said.
He praised the Norwegian legend for bringing his best game on the chess board despite not feeling well two days prior to the final.
"Carlsen was tactically so accurate today that he gave apparent initiative to Pragg. Not just his homework, but Carlsen's hardwork on the board was also great. A greater player prevailed today. How Carlsen played today is very similar to how he played against Vishy Anand," Thipsay said.
'Carlsen was scared to take risks vs Pragg'
He also pointed out that Carlsen trying to draw a game against Pragg in the tiebreaker was a sign of the respect that the Indian teen commands in world chess.
"Carlsen went for a draw against only Gukesh and Pragg which shows big respect for the opponent. Carlsen I feel was scared to take risks against Pragg which he wasn't against Ivanchuk or other opponents.
"Carlsen playing for a draw is also a tribute to Pragg. Even if Carlsen felt there was 20% chance of him losing against Pragg, that itself is a great achievement," Thipsay said.