R. Praggnanandhaa warmed up for the upcoming Chess Olympiad by winning the Paracin Open chess title in Paracin, Serbia, on Saturday and bounced back into the world’s top-100 live rankings.
Needing a stay undefeated to ensure the top prize, Praggnanandhaa drew the ninth and final round with Kazakhstan’s Alisher Suleymenov in 46 moves to tally eight points. Top seed Alexandr Predke (7.5), playing under the FIDE flag, took the second spot while Suleymenov (7) finished third.
Praggnanandhaa won the first six rounds, drew the seventh with Predke, defeated Arjun Kalyan in the penultimate round before emerging as a worthy champion.
The prodigious 16-year old, rated 2648, has gained 12.5 rating points following this impressive performance and jumped 17 places to be 90th on the live rating list.
For coach R. B. Ramesh, it was time for double celebration as his other trainee and former National champion Aravindh Chithambaram won the 41st Benasque Open chess title in Benasque, Spain, on Friday.
In the 10-round tournament, fourth seed Aravindh topped a 10-way tie for the title at eight points. Aravindh took the winner’s trophy ahead of runner-up and sixth seeded Spaniard Robert Hovhannisyan and third-placed compatriot Raunak Sadhwani.
Meanwhile in Biel, Switzerland, D. Gukesh drew the second round of the Biel/Bienne Grandmasters Triathlon with Azerbaijan’s Arkadij Naiditsch in just 19 moves. In overall standings, including seven rounds of blitz games, Gukesh is third with 12.5/22 points in the eight-player field.