Indian teenager R Praggnanandhaa has become the youngest chess player to reach the World Cup final.
Praggnanandhaa, 18, defeated Fabiano Caruana, the world No 3, in a tie-breaker on Monday to set up a final meeting with Magnus Carlsen.
Carlsen, the Norwegian grandmaster who is one of the best-known chess players, is a four-time world champion but will make his first appearance in a World Cup final after beating Nijat Abasov.
The final match is being played on Tuesday 22 August in Baku.
Praggnanandhaa, born in Chennai in Tamil Nadu, became the world’s then second-youngest chess grandmaster in 2018, two years after becoming the youngest International Master in history at 10 years old.
“I didn’t expect to play Magnus in this tournament at all because the only way I could play him was in the final, and I didn’t expect to be in the final,” Praggnanandhaa admitted to the International Chess Federation after booking his place in the deciding match.
“I will just try to give my best and see how it goes.”
Praggnanandhaa has climbed into the top 30 of the chess world rankings for the first time. He and Carlsen are two of just 13 players to have achieved the title of Grandmaster before their 14th birthday.
Praggnanandhaa’s spot in the final has earned him a place in next year’s Candidates Tournament, which will determine the challenger in the 2024 World Chess Championship.
Carlsen has confirmed that he does not intend to play in the tournament, meaning both beaten semi-finalists, Caruana and Abasov, will also compete in Toronto next April for the right to challenge China’s Ding Liren.