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Chess: Nakamura sole leader; Anand beats Praggnanandhaa

Source: PTI
November 13, 2018 22:37 IST
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World number three Hikaru Nakamura showed his class in the blitz while India's youngest Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa impressed with two wins in the Tata Steel India Chess in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Nakamura secured four wins and five draws to stay as the sole leader after nine rounds.

On the penultimate day, five-time former world champion Viswanathan Anand led the Indian challenge with India number two Pentala Harikrishna who have five points each from a maximum nine.

V Anand. Photograph: India's Viswanathan Anand/File

Having replaced fellow prodigy Nihal Sarin for the blitz tournament, 13-year-old Praggnanandhaa (3.5/9) impressed with a fighting draw against the sole leader Nakamura in the ninth round.

"I got the impression that Praggnanandhaa is very much at home in blitz," Anand said showering praise on the fellow 13-year-old from Chennai.

Facing Praggnanandhaa for the first time ever, Anand had to overcome an early attack.

Praggnanandhaa launched an attack but a different pawn move on the 15th turn g4 was a mistake as Anand took the initiative and sealed the issue.

"At some point I felt that he had outplayed me in the opening. The only thing I could hope for was the exchange sacrifice, I honestly don't know if it works or not.

"But at least in the blitz time control this is a great position. I had no idea what actually happened... In the end it was enough to win," Anand said.

On playing against Anand, he said: "When they invited me, I was very happy to play against top players."

Praggnanandhaa, who is the second youngest GM in the world, tasted success in round five when he defeated Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine before outwitting local challenger Surya Sekhar Ganguly in the eighth round.

Sergey's 38th move a5 was a huge blunder after which the 13-year-old gave him no chance.

Against Ganguly, Praggnanandhaa captialised on a huge error and punished him by clocking his second win of the event.

Ganguly's mistake on moves 22 and 48 made his position worse. But he lost as he couldn't finish the game in the stipulated time.

Asked whether he was nervous, Praggnanandhaa said: "Not nervous. I just want to do well always."

Top seed of the blitz event with a massive rating of 2893, Nakamura continued his fine run by winning the first game against local hope hero Surya Shekhar Ganguly whose 24th move of Bd5 was a blunder and handed an easy win.

In the second round, he blew away India number two Harikrishna before signing truce with Levon Aronian.

He further went on to beat Wesley So and Shakhriayar Mamedyarov to jump to the lead.

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