Friday, July 19, 2024

Pragg beats Giri, Gukesh draws again


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Bucharest (Romania), June 30: After missing out on opportunities to win, Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa finally broke through and scored a hard-earned victory over Dutchman Anish Giri in the fourth round of the Superbet Classic chess tournament here.
World Championship challenger D Gukesh, playing with black, had little trouble holding off Firouzja Alireza of France to a draw on a day when Fabiano Caruana scored his second victory in the tournament at the expense of wild-card Deac Bogdan-Daniel of Romania.
Caruana became the sole leader and also got back to number two in live world rankings.
Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi’s hunt for an elusive victory continued for the fourth day running as he was held to a draw by Wesley So of Romania while Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan also signed peace with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France in the 10-player round-robin tournament.
The event, a brain-child of former world champion Garry Kasparov, saw the first move made by the former world number one and he chose to watch the game between Alireza and Gukesh.
While this was drawn without much ado, Praggnanandhaa was quick to spot an unforced error by Giri to score his first victory in the USD 350,000 prize money tournament.
Giri turned 30 in the previous round but had mentioned that it was not easy to celebrate when he has Praggnandhaaa as black on the next day.
As if taking a cue, Praggnanandhaa faced the Queen’s gambit and capitalised on a simple tactical error by the Dutchman to win a rook for a minor piece in the queen less middle game.
The complications were not so many thereafter but Praggnanandhaa faced some stiff resistance and Giri came closer to a draw only to blow it away after 80 moves.
With five rounds still to come in the super-tournament, Caruana leads the tables with three points out of a possible four and the Indian duo of Pragg and Gukesh are a half point behind.
Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So, Nepomniachtchi and Alireza are all sharing the fourth spot on two points each whiel Giri and Abdusattorov are on 1.5 sharing the eighth spot. Local boy Deac Bogdan-Daniel is in the last spot on one point and has some catching up to do. (PTI)


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