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Praggnanandhaa wins the Polgar Challenge

R. Praggnanandhaa.  

R. Praggnanandhaa won the prestigious Polgar Challenge in style with a round to spare on Sunday and gained a berth to join the elite players in the next Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event beginning on April 24.

The 15-year-old from Chennai stayed clear of the challengers by maintaining his eventual victory margin over the last two rounds of the 20-player round-robin event.

Praggnanandhaa (15.5 points) scored 14 victories, drew thrice and lost twice in the four-day online rapid tournament and earned $3,000 for his efforts. As per the points scored by members of the two teams, Team Polgar beat Team Kramnik, that included Pragnanandhaa, 96.5-88.

Four-way tie

D. Gukesh and second seed Nihal Sarin were part of the four-way tie at 14 points for the runner-up spot that eventually went to top seed from Uzbekistan, Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

Armed with a half-point lead on the final day when four rounds were scheduled, Pragnanandhaa scored 3.5 points after finishing his campaign with a hard-fought draw against Abdusattorov.

In the day’s earlier rounds, Pragnanandhaa defeated compatriot Leon Mendonca, Zhansaya Abdumalik (Kazakhstan) and Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iran).

Commenting on the games, former World champion Vladimir Kramnik drew similarities between Pragnanandhaa and five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand.

“His chess also pretty much reminds me of Vishy — universal, sharp, quick, with a good sense of dynamics, with a good feeling of the position.”

Anand himself was quick to hail the young champion. “Congrats. Prag dominated and showed his class. But now we have some work, getting him ready for the big one!”

Final standings (after 19 rounds):

1. R. Praggnanandhaa (15.5 points); 2-5. Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzb), D. Gukesh, Nihal Sarin, Volodar Murzin (Rus) (14 each); 6. Vincent Keymer (Ger, 13.5); 7. Awonder Liang (USA, 12.5); 8-9. Christopher Yoo (USA), Leon Mendonca (12 each); 10. Jonas Bjerre (Den, 10.5); 11-12. Lei Tingjie (Chn), Zhu Jiner (Chn) (10 each); 13. Nurgyul Salimova (Bul, 7); 14-15. Polina Shuvalova (Rus), Zhansaya Abdumalik (Kaz) (6.5 each); 16-17. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iran), Gunay Mammadzada (Aze) (5.5 each); 18. Carissa Yip (USA, 4); 19. Olga Badelka (Bel, 3); 20. Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, withdrawn).

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 2:15:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/praggnanandhaa-wins-the-polgar-challenge/article34305702.ece

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