R. Praggnanandhaa continued to make strides by stunning World No. 3 Ding Liren and moving to the joint sixth spot after eight rounds of the $150,000 Charity Cup online rapid chess tournament on Sunday.
Vidit Gujrathi, fourth overnight, slipped to the tied 10th spot following two defeats. Meanwhile, P. Harikrishna not only remained undefeated during the day but also scored his first victory to climb to the joint 12th spot.
Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem (20/24) held a four-point lead over Norwegian World champion Magnus Carlsen and Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Seven rounds remain in the 16-player round-robin league, where a win is worth three points and a draw, one.
Sixteen-year-old Praggnanandhaa, who shocked Carlsen in the previous leg of the $1.6 million 2022 Champions Chess Tour last month, got the better of the Chinese No. 1 in 49 moves of their eighth-round clash.
Playing from the black side, Praggnanandhaa had to trade his rook for a bishop and a ‘queening’ pawn. Immediately, in an equal position, Ding Liren’s decision to retreat his king on the 42nd move proved fatal. Praggnanandhaa found the right continuation by advancing his king to support the advancing queenside pawns. Ding, the conqueror of Carlsen on the first day, saw no way of stopping the three connected passed pawns and gave up.
Earlier in the day, Praggnanandhaa lost to Duda but more than made up by beating Canada’s Eric Hansen.
Vidit remained winless on the second day following two draws and two losses. His losses came against Dutchman Jorden van Foreest and leader Le Quang Le. Harikrishna, after a disastrous opening day, defeated China’s Lei Tingjie to open the second day. He went on to draw with Praggnanadhaa, Foreest, and David Anton (Spain).
Interestingly, Carlsen went for broke and the approach paid off. He scored three wins against a lone defeat to make up for the slow start to his campaign. The favourite defeated Hans Moke Niemann (USA), lost to David Navara (Czech Republic) before defeating Richard Rapport (Hungary) and Lei Tingjie (China).
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