Hou Yifan Challenge: India's R. Praggnanandhaa wins five rounds, leads

R. Praggnanandhaa won all five rounds to lead the table after the first day of the Hou Yifan Challenge online rapid event.

R. Praggnanandhaa

FILE PHOTO: R. Praggnanandhaa has a one-point lead after the first day's play at the Hou Yifan online rapid tournament.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa won all five rounds to lead the table after the first day of Hou Yifan Challenge online rapid event, part of the USD 100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour, on Saturday.

In the 17-player round-robin event, Praggnanadhaa opened his campaign by beating Balaji Daggupati (USA), and then defeated elder sister R. Vaishali, Zhu Jiner (China), Yahli Sokolovsky (Israel), and Lei Tingjie (China) to stay one-point clear of Germany’s Vincent Keymer.

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Compatriot Leon Mandonca (3.5) was tied for the third spot after beating Sokolovsky and Tingjie but lost to USA’s Awonder Liang, drew with Russia’s Volodar Murzin, and got past Poland’s Oliwia Kiolbasa.

Aditya Mittal tied fifth

Aditya Mittal (3) was tied fifth after wins over Jiner and Sokolovsky, and draws with Tingjie and Awonder. He lost the fifth round to Murzin.

Vaishali started by holding higher-rated Polish International Master Pavel Teclaf, then lost to Praggnanandhaa and recovered well to beat Russia’s Leya Garifullina and Balaji. She enjoyed a fifth-round bye.

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