Norway Chess: Praggnanandhaa beats France’s Firouzja Alireza in Armageddon

Praggnanandhaa scored his first ever over-the-board victory over Alireza. The Indian was clinical in his approach and carved out a fine victory in the endgame.

ByPTI

Published May 28, 2024 | 3:41 PMUpdatedMay 28, 2024 | 4:26 PM

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa

Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa got off to a flier and defeated Firouzja Alireza of France in the Armageddon game in the first round of Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger, Norway  on Tuesday, 28 May.

After an easy draw under normal time control, Praggnanadhaa got 10 minutes as white compared to Alireza’s seven but with the condition that he had to win as a draw would have given black extra points.

The Indian was clinical in his approach and carved out a fine victory in the endgame.

The day saw all the games under classical time control ending in draws in both men and women’s section and as many as six Armageddon happened to decide the winner in this unique format.

World number one Magnus Carlsen played out a 14-move draw in classical and then a 68-move marathon draw with reigning world champion Ding Liren to seal the day in his favour while Hikaru Nakamura proved stronger than American compatriot Fabiano Caruana in the Armageddon.

After the end of the first round, Praggnanandhaa, Carlsen and Nakamura share the lead on 1.5 points apiece while Alireza, Liren and Caruana follow them a half point behind.

Each win under classical time control here is worth three points while the winner takes 1.5 home in the Armageddon with one point for the one on the receiving end.

Also Read: Chess is expensive, players need support from corporate sponsors: Praggnanandhaa

Praggnanandhaa’s tactical brilliance 

Praggnanandhaa scored his first ever over-the-board victory over Alireza. It was an irregular queen pawn opening wherein Praggnanadhaa seized a small advantage and benefitted from a casual 26th move by Alireza.

Pouncing on the opportunity, a series of forced moves gave the Indian a decisive advantage and the game was over in 38 moves.

The women’s section, having the same prize fund as men’s (USD 161000), also witnessed three draws in Classical time control between six competitors.

Needing a draw with black pieces in the Armageddon, Koneru Humpy did not face many difficulties and got the 1.5 points.

R Vaishali came up with an inspired performance with black against women’s world champion Wenjun Ju of China but could not cash in on her chances.

It was a tough Classical game for the elder sister of Praggnanandhaa as Wenjun took her for a long grind in a queen and opposite coloured Bishops endgame. The game was drawn after 80 moves thanks to Vaishali’s resistance.

Wenjun sacrificed a pawn early in the return game in a must-win situation and Vaishali had this extra pawn for quite some time. However, with the clock ticking away, Vaishali could not withstand the pressure. Wenjun won in 43 moves.

In the other game of the day, TIngjie Lei of China prevailed over Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine, winning the Armageddon with black.

Results round 1 men: R Praggnanandhaa (Ind, 1.5) beat Firouzja Alireza (Fra) 1.5-1; Ding Liren (Chn, 1) lost to Magnus Carlsen (1.5) 1-1.5; Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1) lost to Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1.5) 1-1.5.

Women: Pia Cramling (Swe, 1) lost to Koneru Humpy (Ind, 1.5) 1-1.5; Wenjun Ju (Chn, 1.5) beat R Vaishali (Ind, 1) 1.5-1; Anna Muzychuk (Ukr, 1) lost to Tingjie Lei (Chn, 1.5) 1-1.5.

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