12-year-old beats top GM – update

by Sagar Shah
11/17/2017 – The World Junior Chess Championships is considered one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world – great players like Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Anand have been the World Junior Champions in the past. Players are 20 years old or younger. But after five rounds, in place three we find a 12-year-old who has beaten the top seed (GM Jorden van Foreest, rated 2616) in a flawless game for which we have video analysis. And in round five Indian prodigy R. Praggnanandhaa beat another GM and chalked up a rating performance of 2830!

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Participating in the 2017 event are 237 players, male and female, the best juniors in the world, all twenty years or younger. Multiple entries per nation are possible, and in the open section we find 15 Chinese players, 13 players from India, 9 Russians and one player from the US. Total 148. In the Girls' section we find 10 Indian players, 7 Russians, 5 Chinese girls, and two from the USA. Total 89.

After four rounds of play, in the Open section, there are two players with clean 4.0 scores. Nine players have 3½/4 points. Here are the leading players.

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. rtg+/-
1 11 GM Alekseenko Kirill RUS 2563 4.0 12.7
2 32 FM Sorokin Aleksey RUS 2483 4.0 16.3
3 6 GM Karthikeyan Murali IND 2578 3.5 8.0
4 23 GM Yuffa Daniil RUS 2527 3.5 6.8
5 26 IM Praggnanandhaa R IND 2509 3.5 11.1
6 2 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2606 3.5 4.5
7 21 IM Xu Xiangyu CHN 2543 3.5 6.1
8 12 GM Martirosyan Haik M. ARM 2561 3.5 7.8
9 20 GM Sarana Alexey RUS 2543 3.5 6.0
10 14 GM Liang Awonder USA 2558 3.5 6.9
11 5 GM Tari Aryan NOR 2581 3.5 6.0

Rank after Round 5

Rk. SNo Ti Name FED Rtg Pts. rtg+/-
1 11 GM Alekseenko Kirill RUS 2563 5.0 16.6
2 5 GM Tari Aryan NOR 2581 4.5 10.5
3 26 IM Praggnanandhaa R IND 2509 4.5 17.1
4 21 IM Xu Xiangyu CHN 2543 4.5 11.6
5 12 GM Martirosyan Haik M. ARM 2561 4.0 7.3
6 32 FM Sorokin Aleksey RUS 2483 4.0 12.4
7 14 GM Liang Awonder USA 2558 4.0 7.6
8 23 GM Yuffa Daniil RUS 2527 4.0 7.3
9 2 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2606 4.0 3.8
10 30 IM Lomasov Semen RUS 2490 4.0 12.8
11 56 FM Liu Yan CHN 2422 4.0 19.1
12 44 IM Dragnev Valentin AUT 2461 4.0 8.4
13 37 IM Zanan Evgeny ISR 2471 4.0 3.9
14 34 IM Li Di CHN 2479 4.0 4.2
15 7 GM Aravindh Chithambaram. IND 2572 4.0 2.0

All results from both groups are available here

So why are we making a fuss about this? Well, it is an under 20 championship, but one of the players in the top group is a preteen — just twelve! It is of course Praggnanandhaa about whom we have written a number of articles. We advise all chess fans to learn to pronounce it: prag-na-nand-a (but people like to call him Praggu or simply Pragg). In the first four rounds of the current World Junior Praggu, who is currently rated 2509, has scored three wins and one draw, with a performance rating of 2770.

Praggnanandhaa is from India — from the Vishy Anand town of Chennai. Naturally ChessBase India is ecstatic, following his progress closely, especially when he beat the top seed, GM Jorden van Foreest, rated 2616 and a former Dutch Champion, in round four. And Praggu did it in convincing style, with a flawless game. Here's what Sagar Shah had to say about it in his report.

12-year-old Praggnanandhaa beats a 2600+ opponent!

It was 12.00 a.m. and I was about to go to bed. However, there are some things that you do not want to miss! Especially if it is 12-year-old Praggnanandhaa crushing a 2600+ opponent. Little Praggu is just 12 years old, but he decided to play the World Juniors (under-20) in Travisio, Italy. He started off well with 2.5/3, but the real big result was his fourth round win over the top seed Jorden van Foreest (2616).

You might remember that Jorden was able to beat GM Adhiban just a few days ago in a six game match that ended in a 3-3 draw, but was decided on tiebreaks. Now Adhiban is an extremely strong player. This just goes to show how competent Jorden really is. Little Pragg, who has been not in great form of late (especially at the Chigorin Memorial), rose up to the occasion and played a nearly flawless game to outplay van Foreest.

Praggnanandhaa was paired against Jorden in the fourth round of the World Juniors 2017. Both the players were on 2.5/3. Praggu opened the game with 1.e4 and Jorden replied with the classical 1...e5. Soon we were in the well known tabiyas of the Giuoco Piano. Praggnanandhaa had come well prepared with improvements over his game against Souleidis, while van Foreest also had some experience with his 2016 game against Loparizangeneh.

Former Dutch National Champion Jorden van Foreest is not a guy that you mess with | Photo: Lennart Ootes

But little Pragg has hardly ever cared for the stature of his opponents! All that he wants to do is play chess! | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Praggnanandhaa R 2509 - Van Foreest, Jorden 2616

Black has this beautiful classical position with centre control and all his pieces well developed, but White has attacking chances. His queen, two knights, two bishops and a rook are all ready to take part in the attack without any delay.

Bxf4 by Praggnanandhaa was a defining moment of the game

After that it meant that Black had to play with great energy and purpose, because positionally he was busted. White has this beautiful queenside majority and Black's kingside pawns are just not going anywhere. Also the bishop on a7 is in danger of becoming completely useless.

Jorden couldn't play in the most active manner and very soon landed in an equal material, but a completely lost endgame. Even though his opponent was a very strong opponent, Praggu didn't have any problems to convert this better ending.

[Event "WJCC U20 Juniors 2017"] [Site "Tarvisio"] [Date "2017.11.16"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Praggnanandhaa R"] [Black "Van Foreest, Jorden"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2509"] [BlackElo "2616"] [Annotator "Sagar,Shah"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 {[%emt 0:00:30]} e5 {60} 2. Nf3 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Nc6 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 3. Bc4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Bc5 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 4. O-O {[%emt 0:00:00]} Nf6 {[%emt 0: 00:30]} 5. d3 {[%emt 0:00:30]} d6 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 6. c3 {[%emt 0:00:30]} a6 { [%emt 0:00:30]} 7. Bb3 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Ba7 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 8. Re1 {90} O-O { 90} 9. h3 {[%emt 0:00:30]} h6 {90} 10. Nbd2 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Re8 {[%emt 0:00: 30]} 11. Nf1 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Be6 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 12. Bc2 {[%emt 0:00:30]} ( 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Nxe3 Qd7 14. Bxe6 Qxe6 15. c4 Ne7 16. Nd5 Nexd5 17. cxd5 Qd7 18. d4 c6 19. dxc6 Qxc6 {½-½ (71) Kramnik,V (2808)-So,W (2812) Stavanger 2017 }) 12... d5 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 13. exd5 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Nxd5 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 14. Ng3 {150} (14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. Rxe5 Bxf2+ (15... Qf6 16. Re2) 16. Kxf2 Qf6+) 14... Qd6 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 15. Nh4 {210} Qe7 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 16. Qh5 {390 LiveBook: 3 Games [#]} (16. Nhf5 Qf6 17. Qh5 g6 18. Nxh6+ Kf8 19. Qf3 Qxf3 20. gxf3 f5 21. d4 exd4 22. Bb3 Na5 23. Rxe6 Rxe6 24. Bxd5 Re1+ 25. Nf1 Rd8 26. Nxf5 Re5 27. Bh6+ Ke8 28. Ng7+ Kd7 29. Be4 Rh8 30. Bf4 Re7 31. Bg5 Rxg7 32. Bf6 Rgg8 33. Bxh8 Rxh8 34. cxd4 Rxh3 35. Ne3 Nc6 36. Kg2 Rh8 37. d5 Ne5 38. f4 Bxe3 39. fxe5 Bf4 40. e6+ Kd6 41. Bxg6 Be5 42. Bf7 Rh2+ 43. Kf3 Bxb2 44. Re1 Bf6 45. Kg3 Rh6 46. Rb1 Bh4+ 47. Kg2 Rf6 48. f3 Rf5 49. Rxb7 Rxd5 50. f4 Rb5 51. Ra7 Ra5 52. Kh3 Bf2 53. Ra8 Be3 54. Kg3 Ra4 55. f5 Bg5 56. Bh5 Ra3+ 57. Bf3 Be7 58. Rg8 Rxa2 59. Rg6 Ke5 60. Rg7 Bd6 61. Kg4 Rh2 62. e7 Rh8 63. Kg5 Bb4 64. Bc6 Bd2+ 65. Kg6 Rh6+ 66. Kf7 Rf6+ 67. Kg8 {1-0 (67) Van Foreest,J (2557) -Lorparizangeneh,S (2449) Moscow 2016}) (16. Nf3 Rad8 17. Bd2 Qd6 18. Nh4 Nf4 19. Ngf5 Bxf5 20. Nxf5 Qg6 21. Bxf4 Bxf2+ 22. Kxf2 Qxf5 23. Qg4 Qxf4+ 24. Qxf4 exf4 25. d4 Ne7 26. Kf3 g5 27. h4 Kg7 28. hxg5 hxg5 29. Re5 f6 30. Re2 Ng6 31. Rae1 Rxe2 32. Rxe2 Rh8 33. Bxg6 Kxg6 34. Re7 Rh7 35. Re8 Kf5 36. a4 Rh1 37. g4+ fxg3 38. Kxg3 Rg1+ 39. Kf3 g4+ 40. Kf2 Rb1 41. b4 Kf4 {0-1 (43) Souleidis, G (2397)-Praggnanandhaa,R (2487) Barcelona 2017}) 16... Rad8 $146 {0 [#]} ({ Predecessor:} 16... Nf4 17. Bxf4 exf4 18. Ne4 Rad8 19. Nf5 Bxf5 20. Qxf5 { ½-½ (41) Onischuk,V (2593)-Efimenko,Z (2641) Baku 2014}) 17. d4 $1 {570} (17. Bxh6 $2 gxh6 18. d4 Qg5 $19) 17... Nf4 {[%emt 0:00:30]} (17... Nf6 18. Qf3 $14) (17... exd4 18. Bxh6 gxh6 19. Qxh6 $18) 18. Bxf4 $1 {[%emt 0:00:30]} exf4 { [%emt 0:00:00]} 19. Nf1 {210} (19. Ngf5 Qg5) 19... Qf6 $6 {2760} (19... Rd5 $1 20. Qf3 (20. Qxd5 Bxd5 21. Rxe7 Rxe7) 20... Qg5 $11 (20... Qxh4 21. Qxd5 $18)) 20. Nf3 {1650} Re7 {930} 21. Bb3 {570} Bxb3 $2 {90} (21... Qf5 $1 22. Qxf5 Bxf5 23. N1d2 Rxe1+ 24. Rxe1 Kf8 $13) 22. axb3 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Rde8 {390} 23. N1d2 {887} Nd8 {370} 24. b4 $16 {316} c6 {[%emt 0:00:41]} 25. Qg4 {275} Rxe1+ {105} 26. Rxe1 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Rxe1+ {290} 27. Nxe1 {[%emt 0:00:24]} Ne6 {92} 28. Nd3 {100} Qg5 {412} 29. Ne4 {328} Qxg4 {[%emt 0:00:12]} 30. hxg4 {[%emt 0:00: 05]} Kf8 {[%emt 0:00:03]} 31. Kf1 {[%emt 0:00:59]} (31. Ndc5 Nxc5 32. bxc5 $18) 31... Ke7 {[%emt 0:00:48]} 32. Ke2 {[%emt 0:00:42]} g5 {135} 33. Ndc5 {90} Bxc5 {112} (33... Nxc5 34. Nxc5 Bxc5 35. bxc5) 34. bxc5 {[%emt 0:00:38]} Ng7 { [%emt 0:00:20]} 35. Nd6 {79} b5 {1 [#]} 36. Kd3 {[%emt 0:00:26]} (36. Kf3 $1 $16 h5 37. gxh5 Nxh5 38. Kg4) 36... Ke6 {[%emt 0:00:16]} (36... h5 $16 { keeps fighting.}) 37. Ke4 {[%emt 0:00:30]} h5 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 38. f3 {[%emt 0: 00:59]} hxg4 {119} 39. fxg4 {[%emt 0:00:30]} a5 $2 {31 [#]} (39... f6 {was necessary.} 40. b4 Kd7 {But this should also lose in the long term.}) 40. Nb7 $1 {[%emt 0:00:00]} a4 {112} 41. Nd8+ {250} Kd7 {150} 42. Nxf7 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Ne6 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 43. Ne5+ $18 {[%emt 0:00:30]} Kc7 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 44. Nxc6 Kxc6 45. d5+ 1-0

Complete video analysis by IM Sagar Shah

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Playing Italian like Praggu might not be easy, but we can at least try. Tiviakov is a good guide to understand the complexities of this opening:

The Bishop's Opening and The Italian Game

Studying the content of this DVD and adding these openings to your repertoire will provide players with a very strong tool to fight 1...e5 - as the practice of the author clearly demonstrates.

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Many people are wondering whether Praggnanandhaa will become the youngest GM in the world by breaking Karjakin's record. While this is definitely very interesting, such games make us believe that Pragg will achieve much more than just the GM title. He will definitely be one of the best players in the world in the years to come, who knows even the World Champion! As for now, if he continues in this vein, he might well become the youngest World Junior Champion ever in the history of our sport!

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Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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SCORP SCORP 11/22/2017 09:44
Detachment this boy has on his face is of a Fischer and Ivanchuk caliber.
vbac vbac 11/20/2017 10:49
Being impressive that a 12yo boy already has a rating of 2509, in my opinion the headline wants to make something extraordinary from something (a win of a 2509 player over a 2616 player), which is not so uncommon. It is something that basically happens every day. It's not such a big difference of Elo between two players.

But again, my congratulations to this young boy. I am only saying that the headline is misleading.
KevinC KevinC 11/17/2017 05:12
I am convinced Praggna will become world champion.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 11/17/2017 05:12
congrats ananda!
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