Tata Steel India: Pragg leads, Vidit and Grischuk close behind

by André Schulz
9/9/2023 – Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu had a strong showing on day 1 of the Tata Steel India Blitz tournament. The youngster grabbed five wins in a row at the start of the event, but then suffered a few setbacks, which did not prevent him from ending the day as the sole leader. Vidit Gujrathi and Alexander Grischuk are sharing second place a half point behind Pragg. | Photo: Vivek Sohani

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Five out of five

In the rapid-chess section of the Tata Steel India event, the five Indian participants did quite well but did not excel. Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu was the best among the young superstars, as he got third place. Perhaps the World Cup runner-up needed some time to re-acclimatise after returning from Baku — the 18-year-old had an outstanding performance on the first day of the blitz tournament.

Praggnanandhaa started with five consecutive wins, including victories over the in-form duo of Teimour Radjabov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

The Indian then took revenge for his loss to Vincent Keymer in the rapid section. Victories over Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Pentala Harikrishna followed, before Alexander Grischuk managed to stop the Indian superstar’s winning run with a draw. The draw perhaps threw Pragg a little off track, as he went on to lose his games to compatriots Vidit Gujrathi and Dommaraju Gukesh. With a win over Arjun Erigaisi, Pragg concluded the first half of the event as the sole leader with 6½ points.

Grischuk and Vidit both collected 6 points in the first 9 rounds. MVL, the winner of the rapid tournament, only managed 4 points, finishing below the 50% mark.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk | Photo: Vivek Sohani

Keymer has not yet found his best form in the blitz tournament either. He started with a draw against Arjun and a win over Radjabov, but then suffered losses to Praggnanandhaa and Vachier-Lagrave and, after a win against Abdusattorov, three more losses to Harikrishna, Grischuk and Vidit followed.

The second half of the blitz tournament will take place on Sunday and will start one hour earlier than usual, at 10.30 CEST.

Arjun Erigaisi

Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Vivek Sohani

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.