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Norway Chess: Praggnanandhaa loses, Carlsen jumps to sole lead

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Stavanger (Norway), June 3: The brother-sister Indian duo of R Praggnanandhaaa and R Vaishali suffered defeats in their respective section while Magnus Carlsen justified his top billing with a win over an off-colour Ding Liren to surge to sole lead on 12 points in the Norway Chess tournament here.
Fabiano Caruana also scored over compatriot Hikaru Nakamura to help Carlsen emerge as the front runner for the crown in the six-player double round-robin contest being fought for a total prize pool of USD 161000.
Pragganandhaa lost to Firouzja Alireza of France in the Armageddon tiebreaker after suffering a bit through the Classical game too while Vaishali went down to world women’s champion Wenjun Ju of China who outplayed the Indian in the endgame.
With four rounds to come in both sections, Carlsen is now followed by Nakamura on 11 points while Praggnanandhaa is still third on 9.5 points in all. Alireza is on fourth spot with eight points in all and Caruana follows him with 6.5 points. Surprisingly, China’s Ding Liren seems completely out of sorts with just 2.5 points thus far, needing a miracle to come back in the tournament.
Praggnanandhaa suffered a jolt in his quest as Alireza played a nice game under Classical to put pressure and eventually drew the contest. In the return game however, the Indian faltered and could not really stage a comeback.
In the women’s section, Vaishali had her chances but Wenjun Ju was at her technical best and seized opportunities as they came her way. The minor pieces endgame had some chances but Vaishali could not sustain the pressure.
Results men: Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 12) beat Ding Liren (Chn, 2.5) 3-0; Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 11) lost to Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 6.5) 1-1.5; Firouzja Alireza (Fra, 8) beat R Praggnanandhaa (10) 1.5-1.
Women: R Vaishali (Ind, 10) lost to Wenjun Ju (Chn, 10.5) 0-3; K Humpy (Ind, 5) lost to Pia Cramling (Swe, 4.5) 1-1.5; Anna Muzychuk (10.5 beat Tingkie Lei (Chn, 7) 1.5-1). (PTI)

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