Praggnanandhaa plays the King's Indian for the first time in his career, moves to 4.0/4 in London
The London Chess Classic FIDE Open is an exciting event for Indian fans because of the presence of few of our young stars. And one of them is leading the event with a score of 4.0/4. Praggnanandhaa played some enterprising chess in round 4 against IM Raymond Song, to win his fourth game in a row. With this win, Pragg's live rating has now reached a massive 2593, very close to breaking the 2600 mark. We bring you detailed annotations of his win in the King's Indian Defence, an opening that he played for the first time in his life! Also in the report we have pictures and updates from the venue sent to us by two chess enthusiasts living in London.
Praggnanandhaa on a Song!
When his opponents open with 1.d4 Praggnanandhaa likes to play classical systems like the Queen's Gambit Declined, the Slav, the Nimzo Indian, essentially taking the Nf6, e6, d5 setups, and putting his bishop to b4 sometimes. There was a period back in 2017 where he liked to play Nf6 and g6, but this was a short-lived one and mainly for playing the Grunfeld. However, at the London Chess Classic FIDE Open, the youngster decided to play the King's Indian Defence, for the first time in his life!
When you play a new opening, you often land in situations where you are not sure what is to be done. This is also what happened with Pragg. He played the King's Indian and very soon reached a position where things were complex and a lot of decisions had to be made on intuition and not calculation. Pragg made some wrong choices and very soon landed in a bad position. But this is the thing about the King's Indian. No matter how lost you are, you always have some attacking chances! While Raymond Song (Pragg's opponent) was winning the battle on the queenside, Pragg waged his own storm on the kingside. Song started to feel the heat and very soon went wrong, giving the full point to his young Indian opponent. With this win Pragg has now moved to a live rating of 2593! Closing in on the 2600 mark!
Raymond Song vs Praggnanandhaa
The first critical position, and the first point in the game that Pragg went wrong. Here Black should try to consolidate himself with Nh6-f7 before going for the ...f5 break. However, Pragg went for an immediate ...f5. This was not a good idea, because White is ahead in development and to open up the position in such a scenario is quite dangerous.
Here White should have taken on f5 with exf5. After gxf5 Re1, I would say White's position is very pleasant. It is difficult for Black to know for sure, how exactly he should continue as the structure in the centre seems to loose. Raymond, instead of taking on f5, played Rc1?! This is just what Pragg wanted and he pushed on with f4!? The plan was simple. To run down the pawns and hope for a mate!
Pragg didn't play in the best possible manner and his kingside attack has gone nowhere. White on the other hand has been able to bring his knights in a way that they breathe heavily on Black's queenside structure.
Pragg switches to practical mode and pushes his h-pawn down the board, not caring for the c6 pawn. if he tries to defend his queenside weaknesses, he would anyway lose and so he does what every King's Indian Defence player has done in his life - swindle your opponent!
Here Black could have taken on h2 with Rxh2+ After Kxh2, Qh5+ Kg2 comes the very important move Rf8! While I am sure this is something that Pragg would have seen, what he must have missed is that after Rxf2 Black needs to follow up with Rh8! and now there is no way to prevent a mate on h1 or h2. White has to give up his rook with Rf7+ and after Black picks up the rook, he has a better position with excellent attacking chances.
If you would like to learn the King's Indian Defence from Black, you can consider getting yourself the following resources from the ChessBase India shop:
Standings after round 4
Praggnanandhaa leads the event along with a fellow prodigy Anton Smirnov from Australia and experienced Daniel Gormally.
|10||GM||Gormally Daniel W||2491||4ncl Blackthorne Russia||4,0|
|4||1||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr||2605||Gurukul||3,5|
|7||GM||Grover Sahaj||2508||Port Elizabeth||3,5|
|8||GM||Gordon Stephen J||2505||3cs||3,5|
|9||IM||Petrov Martin||2497||Maritza-Iztok Radnevo||3,5|
|13||GM||Arkell Keith C||2445||Cheddleton 4ncl||3,5|
|15||GM||Hebden Mark L||2436||4ncl Guildford||3,5|
|17||IM||Kirk Ezra G||2433||4ncl Cheddleton||3,5|
|19||GM||Cherniaev Alexander||2428||Wood Green||3,5|
|6||GM||Fodor Tamas Jr||2533||Cheddleton||3,0|
|12||GM||Flear Glenn C||2463||Aix-En-Provence||3,0|
|16||IM||Pert Richard G||2436||Brentwood||3,0|
|20||IM||Merry Alan B||2426||Barbican||3,0|
About the photographers:
All the photos in this report have been made available by Tulsivrunda and Pranav Vaidya. They are chess lovers living in London. Originally from Pune in India, Tulsi and Pranav's son Raghav is a budding chess talent. They are regular readers of ChessBase India newspage and it is wonderful to have them contributing to our articles!