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Praggnanandhaa slips to second spot

R. Praggnanandhaa slipped to second place and required a strong finish over the last four rounds of the Gelfand Challenge online rapid chess tournament on Sunday.

Trailing by half-point to Germany’s Vincent Keymer (12 points), Praggnanandhaa was left to rue the costly oversight against Kazakh girl Zhansaya Abdumalik in the 12th round when reached a dominant position but lost his queen to a knight-fork and resigned. The other half-point he dropped on Friday was also to a Kazakh girl, Dinara Sadukassova in the final round.

In fact, it was Keymer’s final-round win over Zhansaya that gave him the sole lead.

Nihal Sarin, who needed to win all five rounds on Friday to have an outside chance of returning to the title-race, kept winning and caught up with D. Gukesh at the fourth spot.

Gukesh scored three points on Saturday and lost two, including one to Nihal. Leon Mendonca scored 3.5 points from four rounds before losing the day’s last round to third-placed Christopher Yoo (USA).

The results (involving Indians): 15th round: Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz) drew with R. Praggnanandhaa; Olga Badelka (Blr) lost to Nihal Sarin; D. Gukesh bt Zhu Jiner (Chn); Christopher Woojin Yoo (USA) bt Leon Mendonca.

14th round: Praggnanandhaa bt Gunay Mammdzada (Aze); Nihal bt Gukesh; Mendonca bt Dinara; 13th round: Polina Shuvalova (Rus) lost to Praggnanandhaa; Yoo lost to Nihal; Gunay lost to Mendonca.

12th round: Praggnanandhaa lost to Zhansaya Abdumalik (Kaz); Nihal bt Dinara; Nodirbek Abdusattorrov (Uzb) lost to Gukesh; Mendonca drew with Shuvalova; 11th round: Lei Tingjie (Chn) lost to Praggnanandhaa; Gunay lost to Nihal; Gukesh lost to Volodar Murzin (Rus); Abdumalik lost to Mendonca.

Leading standings (including Indians): 1. Vincent Keymer (Ger, 12 points); 2. R, Praggnanandhaa (11.5), 3. Christopher Yoo (USA, 10.5); 4-5. Nihal Sarin and D. Gukesh (10 each); 9. Leon Mendonca (8).

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