Praggnanandha 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 $,7500, Praggnanandhaa has so far earned a bonus of $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.

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.

The results (second round): R. Praggnanandhaa bt Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) 2.5-1.5; Magnus Carlsen (Nor) lost to Liem Quang Le (Vie) 1.5-2.5; Eric Hansen (Can) lost to Jorden van Foreest (Ned) 1.5-2.5; Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol) bt Anish Giri 4-2 (Duda won the two-game blitz tiebreak 2-0).

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