Asian Chess Championship: Praggnanandhaa, Nandhidhaa clinch titles

While Praggnanandhaa overcame the challenge posed by his Indian Oil colleague B. Adhiban by drawing with him for the title in the final round, Nandhidhaa, already assured of the title, settled for a draw against Divya Deshmukh.

Published : Nov 03, 2022 21:14 IST , NEW DELHI

R. Praggnanandhaa (left) and  P. V. Nandhidhaa led India’s monopoly in the tournament.
R. Praggnanandhaa (left) and  P. V. Nandhidhaa led India’s monopoly in the tournament. | Photo Credit: Rakesh Rao

R. Praggnanandhaa (left) and  P. V. Nandhidhaa led India’s monopoly in the tournament. | Photo Credit: Rakesh Rao

Showing tremendous resilience, R. Praggnanandhaa cleared a tough test by his Indian Oil colleague B. Adhiban with some fine defence and became the Asian chess champion as India monopolised the podium in both sections here on Thursday.

Assured of the women’s title worth $,6000, with a round to spare, P. V. Nandhidhaa (7.5 points) reached a winning position against reigning National champion Divya Deshmukh but chose to draw by a three-fold repetition of moves. Eventually, this Electronics and Communications engineer from Chennai claimed the biggest career of her title by a one-point margin.

After Praggnanandhaa claimed the title at 7 points from nine rounds and the winner’s share of $7,000, Harsha Bharathakoti topped a six-way tie for the second spot at 6.5 points. Adhiban and second seed S. L. Narayanan completed the top-four spots to qualify for the next World Cup. Those tied for the second spot received $2,950 each.

The two World Cup spots from the women’s section went to Nandhidhaa and N. Priyanka, who escaped to victory against the 2019 champion Padmini Rout. Divya gained from the generosity of Nandhidhaa to finish third, ahead of Vietnam’s Vo Thi Kim Phong.

After the second and third boards ended in draws, Praggnanandhaa-Adhiban battle was turned into a title-deciding one. A draw was enough for Praggnanandhaa while Adhiban needed a victory.

Interestingly, this intense 63-move draw saw the exchange of queens and rooks but the only pawn-capture took place on the 58th move before the players repeated moves.

Blitz titles for Divya, Rinat

Later, Praggnanandhaa missed a chance to make it a golden ‘double’ after losing the ninth and final round of the blitz competition to eventual champion Kazakhstan’s Rinat Jumabayev. The women’s title went to Divya Deshmukh.

Three Indians make GM norms

Significantly, M. Pranesh, Viani Antonio Dcunha, Koustav Chatterjee and Turkmenistan’s Saparmyrat Atabaeyev achieved Grandmaster norms. Sambit Panda, Aaryan Varshney, Ayush Sharma, Turkmenistan’s Azat Nurmamedov and Uzbekistan’s Saidakbar Saydaliev gained International Master norms.

Leading 9th-round results (Indians unless stated):

Open: B. Adhiban (6.5) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa (7); S. L. Narayanan (6.5) drew with Shamsiddin Vokhidov (Uzb, 6.5); Harsha Bharathakoti (6.5) drew with Karthik Venkataraman (6.5); S. P. Sethuraman (6.5) bt Koustav Chatterjee (5.5); M. Pranesh (6) drew with M. Shyam Sundar (6).

Women: Divya Deshmukh (6.5) drew with P. V. Nandhidhaa (7.5); N. Priyanka (6.5) bt Padmini Rout (6); Soumya Swaminathan (5) lost to Vo Thi Kim Phung (Vie, 6.5); Rakshitta Ravi (5) lost to Liya Kurmangaliyeva (Kaz, 6); Kiran Manisha Mohanty (5) lost to Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vie, 6); Tania Sachdev (5) drew with Vantika Agrawal (5.5).

Top-10 standings:

Open: 1. R. Praggnanandhaa (7 points), 2-7. Harsha Bharathakoti, B. Adhiban, S. L. Narayanan, Shamsiddin Vokhidov (Uzb), S. P. Sethuraman, Karthik Venkataraman (6.5 each); 8-10. M. Pranesh, Viani Antonio Dcunha and Pranav Anand (6 each).

Women: 1. P. V. Nandhidhaa (7.5 points), 2-4. N. Priyanka, Divya Deshmukh, Vo Thi Kim Phung (Vie) (6.5 each), 5-7. Liya Kurmangaliyeva (Kaz), Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vie), Padmini Rout (6 each), 8-10. Aakanksha Hagawane, Nisha Mohota and Vantika Agrawal (5.5 each).

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