Julius Baer Challengers: Praggnanandhaa stays ahead

Despite the odd loss in the 15th round, R. Praggnanandhaa continued to hold the lead in the online Polgar Challenge, the first leg of the $100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour.

R. Praggnanandhaa

R. Praggnanandhaa, the third seeded Indian prodigy, holds a half-point lead over top seeded Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorov after aggregating 12 points. (File Image)   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Notwithstanding a surprise defeat in the 15th round, R. Praggnanandhaa continued to lead in the online Polgar Challenge, the first leg of the $100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour on Saturday.

The third seeded Indian prodigy held a half-point lead over top seeded Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorov after aggregating 12 points. The two title-aspirants are due to meet in the final round, with Praggnanandhaa playing with black pieces.

With four rounds to go, second seed Nihal Sarin jumped to the tied third spot at 11 points with Awonder Liang (USA).

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D. Gukesh was sharing the sixth spot with two others at 10 points while Leon Mendonca was ninth with 9.5 points.

Praggnanandhaa continued his form by winning against Christopher Yoo (USA), Polina Shuvalova (Russia) and Jonas Bjerre (Denmark). Compatriot Gukesh held Praggnananandhaa in the 14th round before German-lad Vincent Keymer shocked the leader.

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The defeat did not hurt Praggnanandhaa as much because Sarin overpowered second placed Abdusattorov. This result protected Praggnanandhaa’s half-point lead.

Team Polgar took a 75-71 lead after three rounds since the tally of only the top-nine players from each team was taken into account after the withdrawal of Team Kramnik’s Dinara Saduakassova.

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