Praggnanandhaa makes an impression

Playing his first tournament after becoming a GM, R. Praggnanandhaa gave enough notice of his potential in the 1.5-2.5 loss to the defending champion Wesley So, who is the world’s second best rapid player, in the Leon Masters rapid chess tournament here on Friday.

The 12-year-old stunned So with black in the first of the four-game encounter.

In the second game, So, playing black, got the better of Praggu and the third one ended in a draw.

With the players tied at 1.5 points, the fourth game turned out to be the decider.

So used his experience to win and entered the final of the four-player knockout tournament.

The other semifinal pitted Spaniards Francisco Vallejo against Jaime Santos.

R.B. Ramesh, Praggnanandhaa’s coach, said this was his ward’s first win over a player rated over 2800+ [2852]. On the victory in the first game, Ramesh explained: “Pragg had some difficulty in the opening. His position was passive and So was attacking him. Pragg played very well when the situation got complicated and won the game in mutual time trouble.”

Praggnanandhaa will take part in the Pardubice-Czech Open (July 12 to 29) and Riga Open (Aug. 6 to 12).

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