Pragg beats Gukesh after sudden twist, wins Reykjavik Open

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/12/2022 – Praggnanandhaa entered the final round of the Reykjavik Open sharing the lead with Max Warmerdam and Mads Andersen. Warmerdam and Andersen played on top board and signed a 16-move draw, while Pragg’s position deteriorated slowly but surely in his game against Gukesh. The latter eventually reached a winning position, but back-to-back blunders not only gave away his advantage but even allowed his opponent to get the full point. Thus, 16-year-old Praggnanandhaa became the ourtight winner of the event! | Photo: Hallfríður Sigurðardóttir (from round 4)

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Abhimanyu impresses

Reykjavik Chess OpenAs noted in our first report on the Reykjavik Open, a considerable percentage of the registered participants were players aged 16 or under, as the 50% discount on their entry fees was an effective move by the organizers. Fittingly, it was 16-year-old Praggnanandhaa who won the tournament outright, while 13-year-old Abhimanyu Mishra was one of four players finishing a half point behind the Indian star.

Pragg entered the final round sharing the lead with Max Warmerdam (aged 22) and Mads Andersen (27), two ‘veterans’ compared with the teenager! Andersen had the white pieces against Warmerdam, and the players agreed to a draw after only 16 moves. Meanwhile, Pragg was facing his compatriot Gukesh (aged 15) with black on the next board.

Gukesh got a favourable position out of the opening, as he had both the bishop pair and the initiative on his side. The younger of the Indian prodigies increased his advantage as the game progressed and did not take long to get a winning position. The ever-fighting Pragg never stopped looking for chances to complicate matters, though.

Suddenly, on move 35, a blunder by Gukesh led to an equal position and, as it often happens in these situations, another grave mistake followed. Resignation came a move later. Pragg had won the game and the tournament!

On board 3, Abhimanyu Mishra, the youngest grandmaster in history, had the black pieces against top seed Pouya Idani. The latter was clearly playing for a win against his young opponent rated over 100 points below him. But the risky approach backfired, as Abhimanyu ended up outplaying him in the complications to get a remarkable victory.

Abhimanyu was one of four players who finished the tournament on a 7/9 score, a half point behind Pragg. This group also included Warmerdam, Andersen and Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson, who defeated former sole leader Lukasz Jarmula with the black pieces.

Abhimanyu Mishra

Abhimanyu Mishra convincingly defeated Pouya Idani | Photo: Hallfríður Sigurðardóttir

 

Gukesh

Gukesh D was inches away from tying for first place! | Photo: Hallfríður Sigurðardóttir

Be careful when you simplify

An endgame played on board 45 in the final round caught the eye of GM Karsten Müller. In Nikash Vemparala vs Askell Karason, White was two pawns down in a rook endgame, but Black’s pawns were doubled on the g-file — the position was drawn.

To maintain the balance, Vemparala needed to keep the rooks on the board. However, the youngster (born in 2010) thought he could simplify into a pawn ending to secure the half point. He failed to foresee that his opponent had a countertrick down the line, but fortunately for him, his opponent missed it too! The game ended in a draw.

Replay below the instructive analysis by our in-house endgame expert.

 

Mads Andersen

Three-time Danish champion Mads Andersen finished in shared second place | Photo: Thorsteinn Magnusson


Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Praggnanandhaa R 7,5 0,0
2 Warmerdam Max 7,0 0,0
3 Andersen Mads 7,0 0,0
4 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn 7,0 0,0
5 Mishra Abhimanyu 7,0 0,0
6 Fier Alexandr 6,5 0,0
7 Niemann Hans Moke 6,5 0,0
  Gupta Abhijeet 6,5 0,0
9 Larkin Vladyslav 6,5 0,0
10 Korley Kassa 6,5 0,0
11 Maze Sebastien 6,5 0,0
  Clarke Brandon G I 6,5 0,0
13 Sarkar Justin 6,5 0,0
14 Yoo Christopher Woojin 6,5 0,0
15 Libiszewski Fabien 6,5 0,0

...245 players


Games from round 9

 

Replay all available games from the tournament at Live.ChessBase.com

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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