Magnus Carlsen, world No. 1 and 14 years older than his opponent R Praggnanandhaa of India, won the FIDE Chess World Cup Final in a rapid format tie-breaker on Thursday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Carlsen won the first tie-breaker, putting the 18-year-old Prag in a must-win position for the second. But after about ten minutes, the Indian saw the writing on the wall and shook hands with his conqueror.
The close battle between a seasoned warrior and a much younger challenger was reminiscent in some ways of the Novak Djokovic-Carlos Alcaraz rivalry in tennis.
The Norwegian superstar won $1,10,000 in prize money, while Praggnanandhaa received $80,000. Carlsen is a five-time Chess World Championship winner, and this is his first World Cup title.
The contest began on Tuesday. The 35-move first game ended in a draw. Pragg, playing with white pieces, was ahead on time at the beginning of the game. But he was unable to force the issue.
The second game, played on Wednesday, lasted 30 moves over nearly 90 minutes before the two players agreed to a draw in an equal bishop ending.
The first two games were as per the classical format. The time control for each game was: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 1.
On Thursday, the two tie-break games were played with a time control of 25 minutes for each player + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
Despite the loss in the final, it’s been a memorable tournament for Prag. He scored wins over world No.2 Hikaru Nakamura and No.3 Fabiano Caruana, among others, and qualified for the prestigious Candidates tournament.