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WR Chess Masters 2023 R3: Aronian takes Sole lead, Praggnanandhaa bounces back

by Himank Ghosh - 19/02/2023

Levon Aronian is a 2-time World Cup Champion, who has crossed 2800 multiple times. The Top US Grandmaster is coming back to his old form, as he defeated young Uzbek Grandmaster Nodirbek Abdusattorov in the 3rd round of WR Chess Masters 2023. Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa scored his first win of the event by defeating GM Vincent Keymer. D Gukesh made a solid draw against Wesley So with the Black pieces, and the rest of the games were drawn. After 3 rounds, Levon Aronian is leading the tournament with 2.5/3. Round 4 starts today from 2 p.m. local time, 6:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Lennart Ootes/WR Chess Masters

Aronian becomes sole leader

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa had a rough second half at the Tata Steel Masters 2023, and started off the WR Chess Masters 2023 with 2 consecutive losses. However, the Chennai youngster showed he can bounce back, as he produced a compelling victory against local star GM Vincent Keymer.

Praggnanandhaa got a big attack against Vincent's Black King | Photo: Lennart Ootes/WR Chess Masters

Praggnanandhaa - Keymer: 1-0

Both Praggnanandhaa and Vincent are known for their smart opening preparation, and this game was no exception. However, White started to get an attack on the Kingside very soon after the opening stage.

Position after 17...Qc7

...Qc7 was the first step in the wrong direction for Keymer - it was important to break in the center with ...d5, not allowing any kind of activity in the Kingside. Now Praggnanandhaa played 18.Qg4, and there is already some pressure on the Black king.

Position after 29...Rb3

...Rb3 was the deciding error - Pragg continued 30. Nf5! Nd4 31. Bf6! Ne6 32. Rxd6 Rxc3 33. Qxc3 Bxd6 34.Qg3. White is now a full pawn up, and has serious threats on the Kingside. Praggnanandhaa went on to win the game in a few more moves without any troubles.

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa analyses his game against Vincent Keymer | Video:WR Chess Masters
After a close miss in a winning position at Tata Steel Masters, Praggnanandhaa won his game against Keymer this time | Photo: Lennart Ootes/WR Chess Masters

Aronian - Abdusattorov: 1-0

The Uzbekistan no.1 Nodirbek Abdusattorov went for a very sharp opening with the Black pieces against experienced Grandmaster Levon Aronian - the Sicilian Dragon! As it turned out in the game, Levon had much more experience in these structures. Aronian chose a somewhat rare response, and Nodirbek went wrong quite early in the game:

Position after 14...f6

...f6 is the correct response to generate counterplay for Black, but not right now. Black needed to keep the c6-Knight on the board with ...Nd4. After 14...f6, Aronian continued 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. gxf6 Nxf6 17. Bh6 Re8 18. Bc4+ Kh7 19. Bg5 Kg7 20. Rhg1 and has a completely winning position. Black's pieces are inactive, the pawn structure is weak and White is targeting those weak pawns.

Position after 20.Rhg1

Aronian went on to win the game without any difficulties, scoring his second victory in 3 games at the WR Chess Masters 2023.

After 3 rounds, Levon Aronian is now the sole leader of WR Masters 2023 with 2.5/3 | Photo: Lennart Ootes/WR Chess Masters
Levon Aronian analyses his game against Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Video: WR Chess Masters
A Tough Lesson for Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Video: ChessBase India

Ian Nepomniachtchi - Anish Giri (NED): 0.5-0.5 | Photo: Lennart Ootes/WR Chess Masters
ANISH GIRI - Interview after Round 3 WR Chess Master 2023 | Video: WR Chess Masters

Wesley So (USA) - D Gukesh (IND): 0.5-0.5 | Photo: Lennart Ootes / WR Chess Masters
WESLEY SO - Interview after Round 3 WR Chess Master 2023 | Video: WR Chess Masters

Andrey Esipenko - Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL): 0.5-0.5 | Photo: Lennart Ootes/WR Chess Masters
Interview with Jan-Krzysztof Duda | Video: WR Chess Masters
Replay Live commentary of WR Chess Masters 2023 Round 3 by GM Yasser Seirawan and GM Elisabeth Paehtz | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 3 games

Prize fund

The total prize fund - €130000. Top three prizes are: €40000, €25000 and €15000 each respectively.

WR Chess Masters 2023 complete prize fund distribution | Photo: Official site

Round 3 results

Just like Round 2 , two games were decisive and the rest were draws. | Photo: Official site

Standings after Round 3

Levon Aronian has the sole lead with 2.5/3, Wesley So and D Gukesh follow with 2/3 | Photo: Official site

Round 4 pairings

Round 4 pairings | Photo: Official site


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