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Julius Baer Challenger Championship: Praggnanandhaa takes 2-0 lead

by Shahid Ahmed - 13/12/2022

Praggnanandhaa made a short work of Pranav Venkatesh in the second match at Julius Baer Challenger Championship. The Asian Continental 2022 champion won both games convincingly. In the first game, Pranav made an incorrect decision at a critical juncture. He was unable to make the most out of the white pieces in the second game as Praggnanandhaa equalized easily out of the opening. Pranav now must win the next two Blitz matches to keep his chances. The Blitz matches start today from 8:30 p.m. IST in Tel Aviv, Israel. Can Pranav bounce back or will Praggnanandhaa make a clean sweep? Photo: chess24 live stream

Pranav in a must-win situation

Challengers Chess Tour 2022 champion, India's 75th GM Pranav Venkatesh faces Challengers Chess Tour 2021 winner, GM R Praggnanandhaa in a four-match Rapid and Blitz battle in Tel Aviv, Israel. Total US$ 10000 prize pot is up for grabs.

GM R Praggnanandhaa won the second match, scoring consecutive victories | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Match 2: Praggnanandhaa - Pranav: 2-0

GM Pranav Venkatesh had a difficult choice to make against GM R Praggnanandhaa. He had to decide which bishop to capture in the endgame.

Praggnanandhaa - Pranav, Game 1

Position after 33.Qd2

The general instinct would be to take the b8-bishop and avoid losing the d6-pawn. However, keeping the c6-bishop alive means, sooner than later White will try to exploit Black's light square weakness on the kingside which is what happened in the game. Thus, 33...Rxc6 or Bxc6 was a better choice than 33...Rxb8.

King's Indian Attack with the white pieces in the second game was probably not the best choice. Praggnanandhaa equalized easily with the black pieces and eventually Pranav erred in a difficult rook and two pawns endgame.

Replay the live stream

Praggnanandhaa vs Pranav | Julius Baer Challenger Championship Match 2 - Live Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Match 2: Praggnanandhaaa - Pranav V: 2-0 | Photo: chess24

Julius Baer Challenger Championship will take place from 11th to 13th December from 8:30 p.m. IST each day | Photo: Challengers Chess Tour

Two Rapid matches will be followed by two Blitz matches | Photo: Challengers Chess Tour


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