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Praggnanandhaa's perfect 6.0/6 at World Cadets 2016

by Sagar Shah - 26/10/2016

Ever since R. Praggnanandhaa became the youngest IM in the world at the age of 10 years and 10 months, he has been in the news all over the world. The young boy has stayed true to his billing of being the top seed in the under-12 section of the World Cadets 2016. Going into the rest day he is on a perfect 6.0/6. We will bring you a complete report soon, but as of now this article focusses on little Praggu's games. IM Sagar Shah has not only annotated a game, but has also recorded a 12-minute video where he explains the reasons for Praggnanandhaa's super strong play.

The World Cadets 2016 is currently in progress in Batumi, Georgia. Three sections: under-8, 10 and 12 are being played. India's dominance is not absolute like 2015 where we won loads of medals, but there is one guy who is completely steamrolling the field. He is none other than the boy who has made headlines all over the world for his feat of being the youngest IM in the world. R. Praggnanandhaa is on 6.0/6 in the under-12 section.

World's youngest International Master R. Praggnanandhaa is currently dominating the under-12 section with 6.0/6

IM Sagar Shah tries to decode Praggnanandhaa's games and speaks about the features of the 11-year-old boy's play
[Event "World Cadets Championship U12B"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.10.24"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Praggnanandhaa, R."]
[Black "Cai, Yuhao"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A45"]
[WhiteElo "2442"]
[BlackElo "1860"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

{The Chinese player is just rated 1860. However, he had beaten four players
above 2100 and was clearly in great form.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 $5 {The Trompowsky.
Praggnanandhaa has played things like 1.Nf3 and 2.b4 in this tournament. So
the Trompowsky is quite mainstream!} e6 3. e4 Be7 $6 {Although this has been
played in many games, this is surely not a very active move and gives White a
comfortable opening edge.} (3... h6 {is the main line.}) 4. e5 Nd5 5. Bxe7 Nxe7
6. Bd3 c5 (6... d6 {is the right way to chip at White's centre.}) 7. dxc5 Qa5+
8. Nd2 Qxc5 9. Ngf3 {Black has wasted two tempi to recover the pawn. Meanwhile
White has developed all his pieces and is ready to get castled.} Ng6 10. Ne4 $1
{Excellent active play by the young boy.} (10. Qe2 {is another strong move.}
Nf4 11. Qe4 Nxd3+ (11... Nxg2+ 12. Kf1 $18) 12. Qxd3 $16) 10... Qa5+ 11. b4 $1
{Of course, Praggu had seen this move beforehand.} (11. Qd2 {is the old man's
way to play the position.} Qxd2+ 12. Kxd2 $14 {White is better, but this is
not what an 11-year-old boy would play.}) 11... Qxb4+ 12. c3 Qa5 13. Nd6+ Ke7
14. Bxg6 $1 {Exchanging one of Black's active piece leaves with him more
passive guys on the last rank.} hxg6 (14... Qxc3+ $2 15. Kf1 hxg6 16. Rc1 $18)
15. O-O Nc6 16. Re1 $1 {White's play is simple and strong. He just brings all
the pieces into the game.} Rh5 17. Re4 {This move is one that I didn't really
understand. Maybe Praggnanandhaa wants to get his rook to a4. But I think it
was better to play Rb1 and bring the last piece into the game.} (17. Rb1 $5 $16
) 17... Nxe5 18. Rxe5 $1 {You can bank on Pragg to see this tactics.} Rxe5 19.
Nc4 Qxc3 $2 (19... Rd5 $1 20. Nxa5 Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 f6 $16 {And it's true that
White is better but with d5, Black can fight on. He has two pawns for the
piece and it is not so easy to co-ordinate the white knights.}) 20. Ncxe5 (20.
Nfxe5 $18 {was even stronger as after} d5 21. Rc1 Qb4 22. Nd3 Qb5 23. Nce5 $18
{White is just dominating.}) 20... Qa5 21. Rc1 d6 22. Qxd6+ {Maybe not really
necessary to go for this liquidation, but it doesn't throw away the advantage.
In general it was preferable to keep the queens on board as Black's king was
weak.} Kxd6 23. Nc4+ Kc5 (23... Kd7 24. Nxa5 f6 {was better way to play, when
White has to show some technique.}) 24. Nxa5+ Kb4 25. Nxb7 $1 {This last
tactic seals the deal.} Bxb7 26. Rb1+ Ka3 27. Rxb7 $18 {A very nice
performance by Praggnanandhaa, who showed utmost importance to dynamic
advantage of initiative and lead in development.} Kxa2 28. Rxf7 a5 29. Rxg7 a4
30. Rb7 Rc8 31. h4 a3 32. g4 Rc3 33. Kg2 Rb3 34. Rc7 Kb2 35. Nd2 Rb4 36. Nc4+
Kb3 37. Nxa3 Rxg4+ 38. Kh3 Rb4 39. Nc2 Re4 40. Ne3 Rf4 41. Kg3 1-0

Check out Trompowsky for the attacking player if you would like to add that opening to your repertoire.


Two of India's brightest medal hopes at the event. Nihal Sarin (5.0/6) and R. Praggnanandhaa (6.0/6) (picture by Mrunalini Kunte)

Player overview for IND

SNo   Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts. Rk. Group
1 IM Praggnanandhaa R 2442 IND 1 1 1 1 1 1 6,0 1 Open U12
5 FM Nihal Sarin 2324 IND 1 1 0 1 1 1 5,0 7 Open U12
8   Dhanush Bharadwaj 2232 IND 1 1 ½ 0 1 0 3,5 38 Open U12
63 CM Karthik Kumar Pradeep 1873 IND 1 0 ½ 1 0 1 3,5 55 Open U12
64 CM Kushagra Mohan 1872 IND 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 3,5 52 Open U12
117   Chiranjan Kumarr K S 1339 IND 0 1 0 0 0 1 2,0 106 Open U12
5 CM Aditya Mittal 2144 IND 1 1 ½ 0 1 0 3,5 51 Open U10
6 CM Mendonca Leon Luke 2133 IND 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 4,5 16 Open U10
10   Pranav V 1994 IND 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 4,5 10 Open U10
77   Hriday Dharmesh Sheth 1491 IND 0 ½ 1 1 0 0 2,5 95 Open U10
48   Kadakia Veer 1273 IND ½ 1 0 1 1 1 4,5 19 Open U08
52   Bhagat Kush 1263 IND ½ 0 1 1 1 0 3,5 48 Open U08
60   Vidit Jain 1236 IND 1 0 0 1 1 1 4,0 35 Open U08
64   Midilesh Ms 1214 IND 1 0 1 0 1 0 3,0 60 Open U08
67   Swayham P Das 1198 IND 0 1 1 ½ 1 0 3,5 43 Open U08
77   Aryan Surya S A 1026 IND 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 2,0 116 Open U08
3   Rakshitta Ravi 2068 IND 1 1 ½ ½ 0 0 3,0 42 Girls U12
16 WFM Divya Deshmukh 1836 IND 1 1 0 1 1 1 5,0 6 Girls U12
19 WCM Mrudul Dehankar 1809 IND 1 1 0 1 1 1 5,0 7 Girls U12
22   Ananya Rishi Gupta 1788 IND 1 ½ ½ 0 1 1 4,0 27 Girls U12
34   Adane Narayani 1688 IND 0 ½ 1 0 1 0 2,5 67 Girls U12
44 WCM Wankhade Sanskruti 1344 IND 1 0 1 0 1 ½ 3,5 43 Girls U10
65   Darsana M S 1256 IND 1 1 0 ½ 1 0 3,5 31 Girls U10
67   Vishwa Vasnawala 1240 IND 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 4,5 11 Girls U10
18 WCM Shefali A N 1165 IND 1 1 0 0 0 0 2,0 62 Girls U08
25   Rout Yashita 1105 IND 1 1 0 1 1 0 4,0 15 Girls U08
30   Valety Swetha 1038 IND 1 1 0 0 1 0 3,0 36 Girls U08
33   Falak Joni Naik 1024 IND 0 1 1 ½ 0 1 3,5 34 Girls U08 

A full report with all the results and games will follow soon