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Gelfand Challenge Day 2: Praggnanandhaa makes a brilliant comeback and joins the lead 8.0/10

by Shahid Ahmed - 12/06/2021

It would not be an understatement to say Praggnanandhaa stole the show in Day 2 of Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour - Gelfand Challenge. Pragg went through all of his opponents and emerged victorious. Thus jumping at the top of the table in a shared lead with Abdusattorov 8.0/10 each respectively. Gukesh earlier in the day shared the news of him getting a Wild Card in the FIDE World Cup 2021, played fantastic and scored 4.0/5, thus moving towards shared third place 7.0/10. Nihal and Leon had a tough day. They are at 5.0/10 and 4.5/10 each, respectively. The tournament continues today with Round 11 starting from 6:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Niklesh Jain

Team Kramnik - Team Polgar: 50-50

Praggnanandhaa showcased his talent as he beat all five opponents he faced in Day 2. He won against Nihal, Jiner, Leon, Keymer and Jonas. He also scored a double hat-trick of wins and now tied at the first place with Abdusattorov 8.0/10. Gukesh also made a fantastic recovery after starting the day with a loss against Keymer, then he turned things around and won the next four games to finish the day with 7.0/10 at shared third place with Liang and Keymer.

Praggnanandhaa scored a perfect 5.0/5 on Day 2 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Round 6: Pragg beat Nihal

Day 2 started with Praggnanandhaa scoring a victory over Nihal, Leon won and Gukesh lost.

Nihal - Praggnanandhaa: 0-1

Nihal invited trouble by pushing the pawn infront of his castled king.

Position after 23.c3

23.c3 was uncalled for. White needed to play 23.Rge1 and everything would have been fine. Find out why 23.c3 causes trouble for White.

Position after 31.Rd1

White's final mistake was 31.Rd1 because the resultant bishop vs. knight endgame is completely winning for Black. Praggnanandhaa exchanged the major pieces and went into the minor piece endgame which he converted without any difficulty.

Nihal Sarin vs Praggnanandhaa! Who came out on top? | Video: Sagar Shah

Keymer - Gukesh: 1-0

In the endgame Gukesh responded incorrectly to Keymer's attempt to break his opponent's kingside.

Position after 39.h5

It is not easy to determine black's best response in the above diagram, especially when the clock is ticking down to the last seconds. The game continued 39...g5 which turned out to be incorrect. What was the better continuation for black? Keymer managed to pick up a lot of pawns and eventually threaten checkmate to win the game.

Jiner - Leon: 0-1

Leon scored a comfortable victory over WGM Zhu Jiner after his opponent was unable to capitalize on his exchange sacrifice. She blundered a pawn and returned the exchange eventually.

Round 7: Pragg and Gukesh win

Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh scored a win each respectively, Leon lost and Nihal drew in Round 7.

Leon - Keymer: 0-1

Leon blundered a piece in an already difficult position which caused him to resign immediately against Vincent Keymer.

Position after 26...Qb2

White had to play 27.Ree1 to keep the bishop alive but still things would have remained difficult.

Praggnanandhaa - Jiner: 1-0

Instead of focusing on her advantage, Jiner went passive and made an incorrect queen exchange.

Position after 29.Rcd1

Black should have pushed the passed a-pawn down the board like 29...a5. Instead 29...Qf7 passive move did not help black in any way.

Position after 31.Qg6

Black should not exchange the queens at g6 because it weakens the back-rank and unnecessarily makes things difficult. 31...Kg8 would have been a better choice. Pragg seized every opportunity he was presented in the game. During the final moments his opponent blundered a piece and immediately resigned.

Jonas - Nihal: 0.5-0.5

Despite being slightly worse in the middlegame, Nihal managed to go into a queen and rook endgame with an extra pawn. However Jonas made sure he did not make any significant mistake and managed to hold Nihal to a draw.

Gukesh - Badelka: 1-0

IM Olga Badelka misjudged the intensity of Gukesh's onslaught on her kingside.

Position after 14...Ba6

Black needed to prevent a deadly threat. What was it?

Position after 24...Nd7

White has a huge advantage and primed to wreck havoc. How? Black resigned in another four moves.

Round 8: Gukesh and Pragg win

Gukesh and Pragg scored victories, Leon and Nihal lost.

Salimova - Gukesh: 0-1

Bulgaria no.2 among women, IM Nurgyul Salimova was better for the majority of the game. However, after a few mutual errors, Gukesh eventually checkmated her.

Position after 40...Qg6

White needed to play a bit more actively after 40...Qg6. 40.Rc1 did not add much to the position, instead 40.Rxe6 would have been better. After 41...Qf5, White's final mistake was 42.Qc2 which allowed Black to bring more pieces into the attack 42...Ne4 and it was over White.

Nihal - Tingjie: 0-1

It is not everyday when Nihal gets attacked and succumbs to his opponent. GM Lei Tingjie's attack was not perfect but Nihal's inaccuracies cost him the point.

Position after 28...Qg4+

White can still save the game here, how?

Leon - Praggnanandhaa: 0-1

Leon and Praggnanandhaa had a very similar position to Nihal and Tingjie's above game. The result was the same again, Black won.

Position after 13...Ne4

Should White take on e4? White did in the game which turned to be incorrect.

Position after 25.Nc5

It is evident that the end is nigh. Find out the winning plan for Black in the above position.

Round 9: Pragg surprised Keymer, Gukesh made a quick work of Liang

Pragg, Nihal and Gukesh won their respective games, Leon drew.

Praggnanandhaa - Keymer: 1-0

Pragg surprised everyone by playing 2.h3 after 1.Nf3 d5. Everyone thought it to be a mouse slip but those who follow his and Aravindh Chithambaram's games know that it is not. They have been doing this for more than over a year.

Position after 31...d4

31...d4 turned out to be a big mistake for Black as White's bishop pair proved to be absolutely menacing and eventually decided the fate of the game. This was Pragg's fourth consecutive victory of the day, fifth of the event.

Jonas - Leon: 0.5-0.5

Leon got himself in a bit of a pickle in the rook endgame as he trapped his own rook against GM Jonas Buhl.

Position after 33...Rb4

33...Ra5 would have been better as 34.a4 g5 and Black does not need to worry about losing the b7-pawn. 33...Rb4 although does not exactly loses the rook completely if you can see it thoroughly. Of course with less time on the clock, it is not at all easy to defend but Leon managed to save the game and salvage a draw quite well.

Abdumalik - Nihal: 0-1

Nihal scored a fine victory over Abdumalik who made an incorrect break on her kingside.

Position after 28.g4

28.g4 was an unforced error. White could have played 28.Qd3 or Bg5 and things would have remained fine. The break makes the kingside volatile and ripe for attack. Nihal grabbed the opportunity and converted the advantage into a full point.

Gukesh - Liang: 1-0

Liang could not get out of the gate as he made a series of mistakes early in the opening and lost the game in just 22 moves.

Position after 10...Qe7

Black needed to play 10...Qf6 to defend f7 as 10...Qe7 does not actually protect the f7-pawn.

Round 10: Gukesh and Pragg finish the day on a high note

Gukesh and Pragg ended the Day 2 with a victory, while Nihal and Leon drew their respective games.

Sara - Gukesh: 0-1

Gukesh won his fourth consecutive game of the day as he beat IM Sara Khadem as she misplayed the endgame.

Gukesh had a reason to rejoice as he shared with the world about getting a Wild Card entry into the upcoming FIDE World Cup 2021.

Nihal - Shuvalova: 0.5-0.5

Nihal made a solid draw with IM Polina Shuvalova.

Leon - Tingjie: 0.5-0.5

Leon had a well contested draw with Tingjie.

Replay Round 6-10 games

Replay the live stream

Gelfand Challenge Day 2 | Challengers Chess Tour Live Commentary | Video: ChessBase India

Round 6-10 results

Round 6 on 2021/06/11 at 15:00
Bo.No.GrRtg NameResultName GrRtgNo.
GMKeymer Vincent1 - 0GMGukesh D
IMBadelka Olga0 - 1IMYoo Christopher Woojin
IMSalimova Nurgyul½ - ½IMSaduakassova Dinara
GMLiang Awonder1 - 0IMMammadzada Gunay
IMKhademalsharieh Sarasadat1 - 0IMShuvalova Polina
IMMurzin Volodar1 - 0IMAbdumalik Zhansaya
GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek1 - 0GMLei Tingjie
IMYip Carissa0 - 1GMBjerre Jonas Buhl
GMNihal Sarin0 - 1GMPraggnanandhaa R
WGMZhu Jiner0 - 1IMMendonca Leon Luke
Round 7 on 2021/06/11 at 15:45
Bo.No.GrRtg NameResultName GrRtgNo.
IMMendonca Leon Luke0 - 1GMKeymer Vincent
GMPraggnanandhaa R1 - 0WGMZhu Jiner
GMBjerre Jonas Buhl½ - ½GMNihal Sarin
GMLei Tingjie0 - 1IMYip Carissa
IMAbdumalik Zhansaya0 - 1GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek
IMShuvalova Polina½ - ½IMMurzin Volodar
IMMammadzada Gunay1 - 0IMKhademalsharieh Sarasadat
IMSaduakassova Dinara1 - 0GMLiang Awonder
IMYoo Christopher Woojin1 - 0IMSalimova Nurgyul
GMGukesh D1 - 0IMBadelka Olga
Round 8 on 2021/06/11 at 16:30
Bo.No.GrRtg NameResultName GrRtgNo.
GMKeymer Vincent1 - 0IMBadelka Olga
IMSalimova Nurgyul0 - 1GMGukesh D
GMLiang Awonder0 - 1IMYoo Christopher Woojin
IMKhademalsharieh Sarasadat1 - 0IMSaduakassova Dinara
IMMurzin Volodar1 - 0IMMammadzada Gunay
GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek1 - 0IMShuvalova Polina
IMYip Carissa1 - 0IMAbdumalik Zhansaya
GMNihal Sarin0 - 1GMLei Tingjie
WGMZhu Jiner½ - ½GMBjerre Jonas Buhl
IMMendonca Leon Luke0 - 1GMPraggnanandhaa R
Round 9 on 2021/06/11 at 17:15
Bo.No.GrRtg NameResultName GrRtgNo.
GMPraggnanandhaa R1 - 0GMKeymer Vincent
GMBjerre Jonas Buhl½ - ½IMMendonca Leon Luke
GMLei Tingjie½ - ½WGMZhu Jiner
IMAbdumalik Zhansaya0 - 1GMNihal Sarin
IMShuvalova Polina½ - ½IMYip Carissa
IMMammadzada Gunay1 - 0GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek
IMSaduakassova Dinara½ - ½IMMurzin Volodar
IMYoo Christopher Woojin½ - ½IMKhademalsharieh Sarasadat
GMGukesh D1 - 0GMLiang Awonder
IMBadelka Olga0 - 1IMSalimova Nurgyul
Round 10 on 2021/06/11 at 18:00
Bo.No.GrRtg NameResultName GrRtgNo.
GMKeymer Vincent½ - ½IMSalimova Nurgyul
GMLiang Awonder1 - 0IMBadelka Olga
IMKhademalsharieh Sarasadat0 - 1GMGukesh D
IMMurzin Volodar1 - 0IMYoo Christopher Woojin
GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek1 - 0IMSaduakassova Dinara
IMYip Carissa½ - ½IMMammadzada Gunay
GMNihal Sarin½ - ½IMShuvalova Polina
WGMZhu Jiner0 - 1IMAbdumalik Zhansaya
IMMendonca Leon Luke½ - ½GMLei Tingjie
GMPraggnanandhaa R1 - 0GMBjerre Jonas Buhl

Standings after Round 10

Praggnanandhaa had a perfect day | Photo: Champions Chess Tour


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