On the 20th of February, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa beat the world’s highest ranked player, Magnus Carlsen. The Norwegian grandmaster succumbed to the young prodigy in the Airthings Masters, an online rapid tournament. The 16-year-old Indian boy from Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu came into the match up with impressive honours, like being the youngest International Master ever at the age of 10 and then two years later becoming the second youngest grandmaster. Whilst these impressive accolades hold him in high esteem, his formidable opponent was the Magnus Carlsen, considered to be one of the best, if not THE best chess player of all time. Magnus Carlsen beat the great Garry Kasperov at the age of 13 and was himself a prodigy. 


Pragg is only the 3rd Indian to beat Magnus and has called beating magnus his “Biggest dream”. He beat Magnus in 39 moves and used the well-known Queen’s Gambit, but a variation called the Tarrasch defence. There are 318,979,564,000 different combinations for the first 4 moves of chess alone. This match could have gone either way if any one of Pragg’s first 4 moves were different. In the high stakes match of a tournament, Pragg could have crumbled under the pressure especially against the best chess player in the world right now. The fluid cognitive ability of Pragg to spot a blunder by Magnus and pounce on it was a vital turning point in the game. 


You may think chess is just a board game. However, the game between Pragg and Magnus shows the sheer difficulty of the game. It requires a lot of focus and tactical thinking to get the check mate, so don’t think harshly about you mate who plays chess, but instead try it yourself.