Chessable Masters: Praggnanandhaa sails into Final

By Piyush


R Praggnanandhaa made it to his first Meltwater Champions Chess Tour final in an astonishing style.

Praggnanandhaa, 16, showcased immense skillset and tenacity to beat Anish Giri in the Chessable Masters semi-final.

Anish had gone into the match undefeated and in fierce form having topped the $150,000 event’s Prelim stage leader board.

Praggu’s game with Giri ignited in the second game after a first confrontation ended in a draw.

The youngster set Giri a deadly trap in the endgame and the 29-year-old missed the only defence. Checkmate was guaranteed and Pragg took the lead. Giri had lost his first game of the tournament.

The third game was another cracker. With Giri needing a win, the advantage switched several times. As Giri looked set to break through in the endgame, Praggu found a way to dig in and force a draw.

The youngster was 2-1 in front with one game to go. An astonishingly tricky game followed that let Giri back in. Praggu defended brilliantly but one slip when the position was on a knife-edge and Giri was onto it.

The game ended with a beautiful checkmate on the board and the match locked at 2-2 and heading to tiebreaks.

Then it all slipped for Giri. He debacled badly in the first blitz game of the play-off with 32. Qc2, handing Praggu’s double attack that led to a piece capture.

Giri resigned in an awful position and looked despondent. But the Dutchman wasn’t out yet.

The second blitz game saw Giri on top before another mistake gave Praggu a pawn. There was no way back. A draw was confirmed, however it was the same as a victory for Pragg who was through.


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