Chessable Masters: Praggnanandhaa fights back but loses to Ding Liren in tie-breaker

India's R. Praggnanandhaa comes close to landing the knockout punch in the two blitz games but World No. 2 escapes to a 1.5-0.5 victory to claim the title.

Published : May 27, 2022 08:40 IST , NEW DELHI

File picture of R. Praggnanandhaa.
File picture of R. Praggnanandhaa.

File picture of R. Praggnanandhaa.

R. Praggnanandhaa came close to landing the knockout punch in the two blitz games but World No. 2 Ding Liren escaped to a 1.5-0.5 victory and claimed the honours in the Chessables Masters online rapid chess tournament on Thursday.

Diren started the day needing to come out undefeated in the second set of four rapid games for the title, while Praggnanandhaa had to win it to force the two tie-breaking blitz games.

Praggnanandhaa’s victory in the second game proved decisive in his 2.5-1.5 victory in the rapid games. In the two five-minute blitz games that followed, Praggnanadhaa outplayed Ding for the most part. He came very close to winning the first game but faltered. This let Ding force a draw. In the second, too, Praggnanandhaa forced his famed rival on the defensive but mishandled an advantageous position and Ding seized his chance to win.

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After Praggnanandhaa took a 1.5-0.5 lead during the rapid games, he made Ding suffer in the third for 106 moves. Ding had to defend a tricky position with his queen against Praggnanandhaa’s rook, knight and bishop. The fourth, too, ended in a draw, in 44 moves to set the stage for a blitz-match.

In the first blitz game, Praggnanandhaa’s extra queenside pawn looked like making the decisive difference after 50 moves but over the next 17 moves, Praggnanandhaa faltered and Ding’s resilience paid off.

In the second, Praggnanandhaa was better off the opening but could not build on the advantage. Around the 28th move, the tide turned Ding’s way and he went on to win in 49 moves.

Ding, who played this tournament from home in China from midnight to around 5 am each day, praised Praggnanandhaa and said he had the potential to be a world-class player. He admitted being very tired playing through the night but was equally pleased with his first title on the online Champions Chess Tour.

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