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Chess

Youngster Praggnanandhaa seals victory in style at Xtracon Chess Open

Youngster Praggnanandhaa seals victory in style at Xtracon Chess Open
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Published: 1 Aug 2019 2:07 PM GMT
Youngster Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu scripted history as the Chennai boy clinched the traditional Copenhagen Open, now known as the Xtracon Chess Open, which was held in Helsingor, Denmark. The main event of the 41st Copenhagen Chess Festival, Xtracon Chess Open was a 10-round Swiss-system open to all players. The tournament was held from July 20-28 with a double round on the second day. The 13-year-old Praggnanandhaa began his stint as the 21st seed and led almost from start to finish, silently moving one chess piece after another and cornering his opponent with every move in the process. And while his play was aggressive, he survived a scare in the last round to win the tournament alone with 8.5/10, earning a performance rating of 2741. This paved way for yet another landmark achievement and he gained 29 Elo points to his existing 2540 FIDE rating.
A career-best result for Praggnanandhaa in Denmark. Praggnanandhaa won seven games and drew three, and was unbeaten throughout. The pre-teen from Tamil Nadu became a grandmaster at the young age of 12 years, 10 months and 13 days. Thanks to this win, Praggnanandhaa shared the lead with three others. Then, his thumping win over Italian number-one Daniele Vocaturo in round seven gave him the sole lead. Hereafter, he hung onto the top board and never left it. But, as is typical in a Swiss open, as many as five players had a crack at first place before the last round started. Unsurprisingly, boards two and three drew rather quickly, assuring themselves good prize money. The new chess wave, Praggnanandhaa with his mother Praggnanandhaa's coach, GM Ramesh RB, was full of praise for his protegee. He congratulated Praggnanandhaa for winning the Xtracon Open, and his elder sister for scoring her first GM norm.
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