Challengers Chess Tour Finals: Praggnanandhaa marches into final

Continuing his irrepressible form, R. Praggnanandhaa defeated second seed Vincent Keymer 2.5-0.5 to march into the title clash of the $40,000 Challengers Chess Tour Finals on Saturday.

(File Photo) R. Praggnanandhaa defeated second seed Vincent Keymer 2.5-0.5 to march into the title-clash of the $40,000 Challengers Chess Tour Finals.   -  K. PICHUMANI

Continuing his irrepressible form, R. Praggnanandhaa defeated second seed Vincent Keymer 2.5-0.5 to march into the title clash of the $40,000 Challengers Chess Tour Finals on Saturday.

In the final of this online rapid chess event, the third-seeded Indian will take on Christopher Yoo, who blanked his higher-ranked American compatriot Awonder Liang 3-0.

Praggnanandhaa, winner of his best-of-four-game quarterfinal with a 3-0 scoreline, won the first two games against Keymer, the second-seeded German to stretch his winning sequence to five.

In the first game, playing black, Praggnanandhaa came up with a brilliant finish gaining a bishop for an advanced pawn. Keymer resigned on the 56th move when he saw no way of stopping another pawn from becoming a queen.

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Even in the second game, Praggnanandhaa emerged with an extra night and threatened to throw the knockout punch after advancing a pawn to the seventh rank. Keymer resigned on his 53rd move.

In the third game, Praggnanandhaa gained a winning position after a desperate Keymer erred on the 38th move. In a position that involved rook pairs and pawns, Praggnanandhaa chose to draw by perpetual checks to gain the much needed half a point to advance.

The semifinals (best of four rapid games): R. Praggnanandhaa bt Vincent Keymer (Ger) 2.5-0.5; Christopher Yoo (USA) bt Awonder Liang (USA) 3-0.

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