Playing Carlsen in his home turf not a challenge for me: Praggnanandhaa

Having beaten Magnus Carlsen several times in the last couple of years, young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa feels he will be under no pressure when he takes on the multiple-time world champion in his home turf during the Norway Chess tournament, which gets underway here on May 27.
Praggnanandhaa
Praggnanandhaa
Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen

Stavanger (Norway) | Having beaten Magnus Carlsen several times in the last couple of years, young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa feels he will be under no pressure when he takes on the multiple-time world champion in his home turf during the Norway Chess tournament, which gets underway here on May 27.

Praggnanandhaa last beat the 33-year-old Carlsen in the Superbet rapid and blitz tournament, a part of the Grand Chess Tour, in Warsaw earlier this month.

"I don't think playing Magnus in his home turf is a challenge for me. Usually, it matters to the player playing in his home but it won't matter so much for me," said Praggnanandhaa, who will also have his sister R. Vaishali playing the Norway Chess Women's Tournament for the first time.

The 11-day tournament will see a very strong field including the likes of world champion Ding Liren and Hikaru Nakamura besides home favourite Carlsen.

Reflecting on his contest with Carlsen at last year's FIDE World Cup where Praggnanandhaa gave the Norwegian a tough challenge, the Indian GM said the experience here would help him in future competitions.

"I always enjoy a good challenge. After the World Cup last year, this will be my first classical game with him. I am quite excited to play him and equally excited to play the others. No doubt the experience here will help me in future tournaments," said Praggnanandhaa in a Norway Chess release.

"I am very happy and excited to play in Norway Chess. The field is extremely strong. This is perhaps the strongest field I have played and I see this as an opportunity and a challenge to give my best.

"I am also looking forward to play in this time control which I have not played anywhere else," added the 18-year-old.

The tournament will be played in a double round-robin format with a time control of 120 minutes.

The teenaged Indian GM also expressed happiness with the growth of chess worldwide.

"It is a busy schedule this year. After the Norway Chess, we move to Budapest for the Chess Olympiad and I will also be playing the Global Chess League later this year. It is really good to have such an exciting league which I think will definitely help grow the game.

"As a chess fan, I'm happy to see this league grow. For now, my focus is on Norway Chess and I am physically and mentally well-prepared to do my best there." With sister Vaishali competing in the women's category, Praggnanandhaa said he will also be tracking her progress in the tournament.

"I am happy to see an exclusive women's tournament being introduced in Norway Chess. It is a very good initiative because there are not many tournaments for women. This will encourage other organizations to come up with women's tournaments too.

"My sister also will be playing there. I am looking forward to see how she will do," he said.

List of participants at Norway Chess:

Men's section: Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Fabiano Caruana (USA), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Ding Liren (China), 5. Alireza Firouzja (France), R. Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (India).

Women's section: Koneru Humpy (India), Lei Tingjie (China), Ju Wenjun (China), Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine), R. Vaishali (India), Pia Cramling (Sweden).

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