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Chessable Masters 2022 SF: Praggnanandhaa knocks out Giri, will face Ding Liren in the Final

by Shahid Ahmed - 25/05/2022

Earlier this year, when Praggnanandhaa faced Giri in the first round of Tata Steel Chess 2022, it was the Dutch no.1 who came up with a novelty. A little over five months later, the 16-year-old set the tone of the day when he scored an emphatic victory in the second game with his own novelty. Giri levelled the score in the fourth game to force tie-breaks. The wunderkind once again showed his tenacity by winning the first tie-break and making a draw in the next one. He will face his second-toughest challenge of the event against World no.2 in the Final. Ding Liren beat Carlsen in the Semifinals without losing a single game. Who will win the Final - Pragg or Ding Liren? Final starts tonight at 9:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess 2022

Praggnanandhaa balances Semifinal and 11th grade board exams

Praggnanandhaa has already etched his name in history for various reasons. However, he would certainly like to be remembered as the first Indian chess player to win a MCCT Final. The icing on the cake would be to beat the current world no.2 Ding Liren. He has lost only one game out of 23 games he played. Pragg will get very little rest as he finished his Semifinal last night at 2 a.m. He had to be in school to take his board exams by 8:45 a.m. So, Pragg also shows that you can be a top player, world-class player and still balance your studies too.

Praggnanandhaa became the first Indian to advance to a MCCT event Final | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess 2022

Giri - Praggnanandhaa: 2.5-3.5

The first game of the Semifinal between Giri and Praggnanandhaa ended in a draw. Both were trying to gauge each other and avoid making any mistakes. In the second game, Pragg made his intentions very clear about him playing for only one result - win.

Praggnanandhaa - Giri, Game 2

Position after 20.d5

Pragg chose a promising line in the Grunfeld with the white pieces. Things started falling in his way once he played 20.d5. The idea is not to blindside the c6-bishop but to get rid of the dark square bishop at h8 and create some trouble in the back rank. It also removes any protection of the g7-square. 20...exd5 21.Bd4 Rad8 22.Bxh8 Kxh8 23.Nxd5 Bxd5 24.Qd2 Qe7 25.Qc3+ f6 26.Rxd5

Position after 26.Rxd5

White certainly has a decisive advantage after 26.Rxd5. The a5-knight is not participating in the game and Black's king is quite prone to dangerous attack which is what happened in the game. White won the game in another seven moves. Pragg gained a 0.5-1.5 lead.

One of the Best Games of Praggnanandhaa | Video: ChessBase India

Giri was completely winning in the third game.

Giri - Praggnanandhaa, Game 3

Position after 31...Kh7

32.Rxg7+ is what White needed to play to win the game. After 32...Rxg7 33.Rg6 and White has checkmate threat in all variations. There is not much left for Black to do. However, the game continued 32.Rg6 and Pragg got an opportunity to survive. That is exactly what he did. Eventually he also got a winning opportunity in the final moments of the game.

Position after 57.Bd6

Find out the winning plan for Black after 57.Bd6. The game eventually ended in a draw which means the score was still in favor of Pragg 1-2. Giri had to win the fourth game to force tie-breaks.

Giri's attack in the fourth game proved to insurmountable for Pragg.

Praggnanandhaa - Giri, Game 4

Position after 27...Nxg4

The position is beyond salvageable for White. However, an inaccuracy by Black allowed White to get back in the game. 28.Qh3 Qg5 29.Qf3 Bxd6 30.Nxd6 Qh5 31.Qh3 Qg6 32.Nf5 Kf7 33.Nh4 suddenly White seemed to have saved the day. Although, the white king is still not out of danger yet. 33...Qb6+ 34.Kh1 Rah8 35.g3 Qf6 36.Kg1?? and it was all over Rxh4 -+. White had to play 36.Kg2 to survive. Of course it was not easy to find, especially when you are low on time. With this win, Giri managed to tie the score 2-2 and forced tie-breaks to be played.

Praggnanandhaa won the first Blitz tie-break after Giri made a one-move knight blunder.

Pragg drew the second Blitz tie-break game, since it was enough for him to win the match and advance to the Finals. Although he was completely winning that one too.

Praggnanandhaa into the Finals | Epic Tiebreaks between Pragg and Anish | Video: ChessBase India
"Now Pragg beats Magnus quite often" | Vishy Anand on Praggnanandhaa | Video: ChessBase India

The reason why we think Praggnanandhaa is a genius! | 14-point challenge | Video: ChessBase India

Praggnanandhaa after eliminating Giri | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Carlsen - Ding Liren: 1.5-2.5

After three consecutive draws, Ding Liren beat the world champion in the fourth game.

Position after 16...Ba5

Carlsen dropped a pawn 16...Ba5 17.Nxd5 exd5 18.Bxa5 Rc8 19.Rc3. World no.2 Ding Liren capitalized on his advantage, sacrificed an exchange in a completely winning position and won the game. Thus, he won the Semifinal 1.5-2.5 and advanced to the Finals.

Semifinals in progress | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Replay the live stream

Chessable Masters 2022 Semifinals Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Semifinal games

Semifinal results

Pragg-Giri went to the tie-breaks, Carlsen lost to Ding Liren without winning a single game | Photo: chess24

Knockout brackets

It will be Praggnanandhaa versus Ding Liren in the Finals | Photo: chess24

All games will start from 9:30 p.m. IST between 22nd and 28th April 2022.


Official site

Tournament regulations

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