CHESS - Oslo Esports Cup: Praggnanandhaa takes lead

For the second straight day, R. Praggnanandhaa won with a round to spare and emerged as the leader before Magnus Carlsen suffered a shock defeat in the second round of the Oslo Esports Cup
online rapid chess tournament on Saturday.

The Indian talent crushed Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2.5-0.5 to lead the field with six points. Since each victory in the best-of-four rapid games is worth USD 7,500, Praggnanandhaa has so far earned a bonus of USD 15,000.

Playing white in the first game, Praggnanandhaa capitalised on Mamedyarov’s dubious bishop-capture on the 25th move and weaved a checkmating net around the black king in  32 moves.


FILE: India’s R. Praggnanandhaa.


After the second game ended as a draw in 39 moves after Mamedyarov resorted to perpetual checks, Praggnanandhaa dominated his famed rival in the third game lasting 31 moves.

The teenager found this fine idea to sacrifice his rook for a knight to open the avenue for a lethal attack on the black’s castled king. Two moves later, Mamedyarov studied the position and resigned.

Carlsen was unfortunate to lose after looking better against Vietnam’s Liem Quang Le.

In an equal position in the first game, Carlsen lost his queen due to 'mouse-slip' and resigned. The second ended in a draw and Carlsen hit back to draw level in the third. In the fourth game, Carlsen pressed too hard for a win but Liem was equal to the task and capitalised on his rival’s misadventure to clinch a tie-deciding win in 34 moves.

- Rakesh Rao

Menorca Int' Open: Gukesh wins second title in eight days

In irrepressible form, 15-year-old D. Gukesh won his second title in eight days by beating a strong field in Group A of the Menorca Open chess tournament in Menorca, Spain, on Sunday.

The country’s youngest Grandmaster, winner of the La Roda Open last Sunday, scored a title-clinching victory over his senior compatriot B. Adhiban in 53 moves to finish with six points from seven rounds.

Gukesh’s stellar performance earned him 13 rating points, raised his live rating to around 2660 and reinforced his freshly-earned spot in the world’s top-100.

Aryan Chopra, one of the seven overnight leaders, drew with fourth seeded Armenian Shant Sargsyan to finish runner-up following a seven-way tie at 5.5 points.

S. P. Sethuraman (fifth), Raunak Sadhwani (seventh) and Nihal Sarin (eighth) also tallied 5.5 points. Top seed Arjun Erigaisi and sixth seed Adhiban (5 each) finished ninth and 10th.

- Rakesh Rao

TENNIS - Asia-Oceania World Junior Tennis U-14

It will be an interesting task for the Indian team to emulate the deeds of the three earlier teams over the last three weeks, in the Asia-Oceania World Junior Tennis under-14 boys event to be played at the DLTA Complex from Monday.

The Indian under-16 boys won the tournament, the under-16 girls narrowly missed qualification for World Group, and the under-14 girls qualified as the fourth team. The Indian team of Tanussh Ghildyal, Arnav Paparkar, Aditya Mor does not have a seeding, and has been clubbed with second seed Japan, eighth seed Uzbekistan and Jordan in group-B.

"Seeding does not help much. We have to play our best tennis in every match," said the captain of the team, Ankit Patel.

READ: Alcaraz to face Carreno Busta in Barcelona Open final

The National coach Zeeshan Ali, who has conducted four weeks of preparatory camp for the four teams over the last month, hoped for the boys to put up a good performance, when they start against Uzbekistan on Monday.

It was a blow for the Indian team, when one of the players, Vyom Shah had to be hospitalised and kept in the ICU for the last few days, owing to an infection in his nervous system.

After the pandemic, it is an opportunity for the countries to compete. Former World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has come to support his son Cruz, as the boy was getting out of Australia for the first time. At the inauguration, Hewitt recalled competing in such events as a junior, while wishing luck to the teams.

Australia, Japan, Thailand and Kazakhstan will be the teams to beat for countries aspiring to get one of the four berths for the World Group competition to be staged later in Europe.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

Divij Sharan loses ATP Challenger final

Divij Sharan and Goncalo Oliveira were beaten 7-5, 6-3 in the doubles final by the top seeds Nicolas Barrientos and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela in the USD 53,120 Challenger tennis tournament in Mexico.

SHOOTING (SHOTGUN WORLD CUP) - India wins trap team silver medal

The Indian trio of Vivaan Kapoor, Kynan Chenai and Prithviraj Tondaiman won the trap team silver medal behind Croatia from among 23 teams in the shotgun World Cup in Lonato, Italy.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

National selection trials

Vijayveer Sidhu topped the men’s field in air pistol, while qualification topper Shiva Narwal (589) had to be content with the junior honour, in the fourth National shooting selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Sunday.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

MOTORSPORT - Jehan Daruvala finishes ninth

Indian racer Jehan Daruvala finished ninth in the Formula 2 feature race in Imola on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Daruvala, who is backed by Red Bull and drives for Prema Racing in F2, had earlier clinched second spot in the sprint race on Saturday.Starting from eighth on the grid in the third feature race of the season, the Indian picked up two points for his ninth place finish.

He also got one additional point for the fastest lap. A total of 11 points (eight from sprint) over the weekend has helped Daruvala climb up to third on the driver's standings.

The race, won by French driver Théo Pourchaire of ART Grand Prix, was chaotic right from the beginning and required multiple Safety Car interventions.

GOLF - Ridhima finishes T-25th in Australia

Ridhima Dilawari emerged as the top Indian in T-25 at the Australian Women’s Classic in Bonville, Australia, on Sunday.

As all four Indians in the field made the cut in the weather-hit tournament, which forced play into Sunday, Ridhima shot a final round of 2-over 74 after 70-73 in the first two rounds. Ridhima had four birdies against four bogeys and a double bogey.

Of the other Indians, Amandeep Drall, who had a brilliant first round of 4-under 68, finished with 81-73 in next two rounds for a T-45 finish. Neha Tripathi shot her best round on the final day with 1-under 71 and was also T-45, while Vani Kapoor (70-75-78) was T-52.

England’s Meghan MacLaren continued her tradition of winning in Australia as she fired a final round of 3-under 69 to lift the title. It was her third LET title and also the third Down Under. With the tournament being shortened to 54 holes, the 27-year-old produced rounds of 67, 70 and 69 and sealed her win with a birdie on 18 to finish at the top of the leaderboard on 10-under-par. She was one clear of Sweden’s Maja Stark (67).

Sweden’s Maja Stark, 22, carded a final round of 67 (-5) to finish on nine-under-par. Stark even led for a while during the afternoon after rolling in four birdies on her front nine. A double bogey on 13 stalled her progress slightly but she bounced back with three birdies in her last five holes to finish second.

England’s Hannah Burke produced the joint-best round of the day, signing for a 65 (-7) to move up to a share for third place alongside Argentina’s Magdalena Simmermacher and Spain’s Carmen Alonso on seven-under-par.


Arjun Atwal and partner Herbert miss cut at New Orleans

India's Arjun Atwal, partnering Lucas Herbert, missed the halfway cut at the Zurich Classic, in New Orleans, U.S.

Atwal and Herbert totalled 7-under with rounds of 7-under 65 and even par 72. It was Atwal’s first start this year and he last played at the Bermuda Championship, where Herbert won his maiden PGA Tour title.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele sizzled on the back nine shooting 8-under 28 on way to a round of 12-under 60 in best-ball play in the third round. After three rounds, they were at a record 29-under and led by five strokes.

Cantlay and Schauffele opened with a tournament record 59 in best-ball play and had a 68 in alternate shot to maintain a one-stroke lead. Then came the 12-under. The South African duo of Garrick Higgo and Branden Grace were second at 24 under after a 63. They bogeyed the par-4 12th.

Sam Burns, the local favourite, and Billy Horschel were 23-under after a 63. They bogeyed the difficult par-3 ninth hole, then shot a 5-under 31 on the back nine. Australians Jason Day and Jason Scrivener (63) and Aaron Rai and David Lipsky (65) also were 23 under.

The father-son team of Jay and Bill Haas was 12 under after a 68. At 68 years, Haas, making his 799th official start, is the oldest player to make a PGA TOUR cut.


Chawrasia tied-64th in Spain

India's S. S. P. Chawrasia carded a 71 to lie tied-64th after the third round of the weather-affected ISPS Handa Championship in Tarragona, Spain.

There was a three-way share of the lead with Adrian Otaegui (62), Aaron Cockerill (62) and Hennie Du Plessis (66) all at 10-under after 54 with the third round coming to a finish on Sunday morning. Scott Jamieson, who was at the top of the leaderboard after playing just five holes of his third round late on Saturday, slipped with a 74.

Play was delayed for a total of four hours and 48 minutes on day three at Infinitum as storms passed continually through the Tarragona region.

Home favourite Pablo Larrazábal was T-6 after a round of 68, which saw him open the third round with four birdies and then cooled off.