Playing Magnus Carlsen in his home turf not a challenge,” Praggnanandhaa ahead of Norway Chess

Praggnanandhaa (Photo:Facebook)

Less than a week to go for the starstudded 12th edition of Norway Chess, Indian sensation Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu says he is excited of play in the field which includes World No.1 Magnus Carlsen, world champion Ding Liren and world no.1 Hikaru Nakamura among other global stars.

The event will be held at the SR-Bank’s main building in Stavanger, Norway starting 27 May to 7 June.

“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,” explained the 18-year-old Pragg, as he is fondly called in the chess world.

Reflecting on his contest with world no.1 Magnus Carlsen at last year’s FIDE Chess World Cup where he gave the 32-year-old Norwegian a stiff challenge, Pragg said, “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.”

He further emphasised that playing Magnus in is home turf (Norway) is not a challenge. “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,” expressed a confident Pragg, who will also have his sister Vaishali Rameshbabu play the prestigious Norway Chess Women’s Tournament for the first time.

“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.

With more events being added to the international calendar, Pragg highlighted the growth of chess worldwide and the increasing opportunities for young and upcoming players. “It is a busy schedule this year. After the Norway Chess, we move to Budapest for 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,” Pragg added.