And although the five-time world champion fought to get back into the game, Pragg did not give him an opening, eventually holding on for a famous victory in the rapid chess tournament.
When it became apparent a win was certain, the achievement appeared to dawn on Pragg, as he covered his mouth with his hand in shock.
It was Pragg’s first victory over Carlsen, and he became the youngest player to beat Carlsen since the superstar became World Champion in 2013.
He also became only the third Indian grandmaster to win against the Norwegian after Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna.
“It’s about time to go to bed, as I do not think I will have dinner at 2.30 in the morning.”
The result was probably not forecast before it began. Carlsen had won three games in a row as he looked to be warming up, while Pragg had finished Day 1 of the Airthings Masters with three straight losses.
However, when the two clashed, the 16-year-old grandmaster looked resolute, eventually beating the chess legend in 39 moves.
Pragg is one of the most up-and-coming stars of chess and has been tipped for great things from a young age.
In 2016, he became the youngest international master in history at age 10, and many people have predicted that he could be a title contender in the years to come.
His famous victory over Carlsen was the subject of praise from some well-known compatriots.
“Best wishes on a long & successful chess career ahead. You’ve made India proud!”
For Carlsen, it was a potentially damaging defeat in his hunt to add yet another trophy to his already prestigious collection.
The 31-year-old contracted Covid-19 in the days before the tournament, and he believes his game is being affected by the after-effects of the virus which he is still feeling.
“It’s been a little bit better today, but the first couple of days I was feeling like I’m OK, but I did not have the energy which made it hard to focus because every time I tried to think, I blundered. It was a little bit better today, but still pretty bad. “
Despite his stuttering form, Carlsen has managed to lift himself to second in the Airthings Masters standings, seven points behind leader Ian Nepomniachtchi.
Russian Nepomniachtchi is in prime position to qualify for the next stage of the competition, with eight players making the cut from the round-robin preliminary stage to the knockout which begins on Wednesday.