Vladimir Putin has tipped Russian chess player Sergey Karjakin for future success after he suffered an agonising defeat in an epic encounter with Norway's Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship final last month.
Carlsen defended his title by overcoming his Russian opponent in New York City by tiebreak games after the initial 12-game series had finished level at 6-6.
The deciding contests were played at the rate of 25 minutes per player, per game, with 10 seconds added after each move and the Norwegian managed to pick up two victories to clinch his second consecutive World Championships crown.
Both of the openers had been draws and the Russian then needed to win the fourth to stay alive.
He could not do so, with Carlsen making sure of glory with a queen sacrifice for checkmate.
During his annual news conference, Putin also heaped praise on Carlsen, calling him the “Grandmaster of our time”.
“Karjakin indeed played brilliantly, well done,” the Russian President said during his annual press conference.
“Our chess player very worthily represented Russia, our chess school.
“He is a fighter, I am sure his main victories are ahead.”
Both players had won once during the regulation series, with Karjakin taking control by claiming the first victory in game eight.
Carlsen forced a victory in game 10 with the remaining matches all ending as draws.
If rapid chess had not separated the duo, up to five two-game matches of blitz chess would have been played with even less time on the clock.
The final tiebreaker would have been an "armageddon" game where white is given five minutes per move and black only four.
Black, however, would only have needed to draw to be granted a victory, with the format thus guaranteeing a winner.
The gripping series garnered worldwide attention, with Carlsen pocketing 60 per cent of the $1.1 million (£871,000/€1.03 million) prize-fund.