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Praggnanandhaa commits blunder, loses second round match in Prague Masters Chess tournament

First Published: 29th February, 2024 18:42 IST

The defeat ended Praggnanandhaa’s impressive 47-game unbeaten streak in Classical Chess

Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa suffered defeat at the hands of Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran in the second round of Prague Masters Chess tournament after he committed a time-pressure blunder.

The defeat ended Praggnanandhaa’s impressive 47-game unbeaten streak in Classical Chess.

The legendary Viswanathan Anand, who is also the event’s brand ambassador, regained the top spot in live ratings among Indians, which the 18-year-old Praggnanandhaa had previously held.

3 of the 10 player round-robin event’s games resulted in draws, but D Gukesh stunned Nguyen Thai Dai Van of the Czech Republic with an outstanding performance using black pieces.

With seven rounds still to come,Gukesh and Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan, who drew with Vidit Gujrathi of India, are trailing Iranian GM Maghsoodloo by a half point.

Praggnanandhaa, Gujrathi, Richard Rapport of Romania and David Navara of Czech Republic share the fourth spot on one point each while Vincent Keymer of Germany and Mateusz Bartel of Poland are on joint eighth spot with 0.5 point in their kitty. Van is the only player yet to open his account, reported Sportsstar.

Praggnanandhaa went down fighting from a position he would have easily saved on another day. Playing the black side of a London System, the Indian did not have much trouble in equalizing and Maghsoodloo kept on looking for ways to complicate the position, said Sportsstar report.

Praggnanandhaa even showed up better at one point in the midst of the game, but it was difficult to finish with the time running out. By then, Maghsoodloo had trained his sights to target the black king; all he needed was a mistake that resulted in several threats. In 38 moves, it was over.

In a reverse Benoni match in which Dai Van played white, Gukesh’s efforts paid off. Gukesh just maintained his lead throughout the game by making gradual and consistent progress, and his strategy paid off when the Czech player handed up a rook for a minor piece.

Gukesh wasted no time in moving to an endgame and coming up with a stunning finish to press the matter. The game lasted 52 moves.

Abdusattarov offered an early pawn sacrifice out of a Four Knights opening, which Gujrathi accepted. The Uzbek, playing black, had a material disadvantage but never seemed to be in any serious danger and ended up drawing after just 35 moves.

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