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Praggnanandhaa's unbeaten streak ends; loses second round match

February 29, 2024 14:45 IST

IMAGE: Praggnanandhaa’s 47-game unbeaten run in Classical Chess came to an end. Photograph: FIDE

Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa committed a time-pressure blunder as he suffered defeat at the hands of Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran in the second round of Prague Masters Chess tournament in Prague.

The defeat ended Praggnanandhaa's impressive 47-game unbeaten streak in Classical Chess.

The 18-year-old Praggnanandhaa also lost the top ranking in live ratings among Indians -- a spot reclaimed by the legendary Viswanathan Anand who is also the brand ambassador of this event.


D Gukesh, meanwhile, came up with an impressive performance with black pieces to beat Nguyen Thai Dai Van of Czech Republic while the other three games in the 10-player round-robin event ended in a draw.

With seven rounds still to come, Iranian GM Maghsoodloo is sitting pretty on two points, a half point ahead of Gukesh and Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan who played out a draw with India's Vidit Gujrathi.

Praggnanandhaa, Gujrathi, Richard Rapport of Romania and David Navara of Czech Republic share the fourth spot on one point each while Vincent Keymer of Germany and Mateusz Bartel of Poland are on joint eighth spot with 0.5 point in their kitty. Van is the only player yet to open his account.

Praggnanandhaa went down fighting from a position he would have easily saved on another day. Playing the black side of a London System, the Indian did not have much trouble in equalizing and Maghsoodloo kept on looking for ways to complicate the position.

At some point in the middle game, Praggnanandhaa even looked better but with the clock ticking away it was not an easy task to finish. Maghsoodloo by then had trained his eyes to go for the black king and all he needed was a blunder that created several threats. It was over in 38 moves.

Gukesh's perseverance paid off against Dai Van in a reverse Benoni game wherein the latter played white. Gukesh just kept himself in the game by slow and steady improvement right through and his tactic proved right as the Czech player fell prey and gave up a rook for minor piece.

Wasting no time, Gukesh converted to an endgame and found a beautiful finish towards the end to force matters. The game lasted 52 moves.

Gujrathi accepted an early pawn sacrifice by Abdusattarov out a Four Knights opening. Playing black, the Uzbek never looked like in any real danger despite the material deficit and in the end drew in just 35 moves.

In other games, Bartel Mateusz had an easy game with Rapport while Keymer did not find any difficulty in signing peace with Navara.

In the Challengers section, R Vaishali lost her second straight game against Ediz Gurel of Turkey.

Results Round 2 (Indians unless stated):

Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran, 2) beat R Praggnanandhaa (1); David Navara (Cze, 1) drew with Vincent Keymer (Ger, 0.5); Nguyen Thai Dai Van (Cze, 0) lost to D Gukesh (1.5); Vidit Gujrathi (1) drew with Nodirbek Abdusattarov (Uzb, 1.5); Richard Rapport (Romania, 1) drew with Bartel Mateusz (Pol, 0.5).

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