Tata Steel Chess: Praggnanandhaa gets his biggest classical chess win, beats World No. 2 Ding Liren; Anish Giri stuns Magnus Carlsen

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Indian teenage Grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa achieved the highest classical win of his career, grinding out a 72-move endgame against World No. 2 and World Championship 2023 contender GM Ding Liren at the historic Tata Steel Chess Wijk aan Zee Masters on Tuesday.

With this win, he stands in the 4th position with 2.5/4 points, and the Chinese grandmaster has slid down to the 9th spot with 2/4 points

More importantly, however, Pragg’s live rating is now 2692, only eight points away from the magical 2700 rating.

Pragg’s persistent fighting spirit earned him his strongest classical chess victory to date against 2800+ Ding with the black pieces.

Ding and Praggnanandhaa gained a symmetrical pawn structure from the Italian game, each with doubled pawns on the e-file and an open f-file. The players traded into an equal double rook and double knight ending.

Despite having such a level position, Praggnanandhaa prepared a pawn break in the center and gained greater activity for his pieces. He won a pawn and grinded his opponent down for 74 moves.

The 17-year-old Praggnanandhaa had been in excellent form in 2022 beating five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen five times in internet tournaments, the only teen with multiple victories against the Norwegian. With the victories under his belt, he was always going to be closely watched at Wijk, with most waiting to see if he could outsmart Carlsen in classical chess. But with this victory over Ding, he has proved that he belongs on the biggest of stages and he’s ready for the biggest of fights.

Surely Praggnanandhaa had his eye on Carlsen before the tournament, but beating Ding is no mean feat. Ding is the highest-rated Chinese chess player in history and is also a three-time Chinese Chess Champion. He was the winner of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour and also the 2019 Sinquefield Cup en route to becoming the first player since 2007 to beat Carlsen in a playoff.

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Indian GMs Arjun Erigaisi and D Gukesh drew their games with Vincent Keymar and Jorden Van Foreest respectively.

Giri beats Carlsen

GM Anish Giri overcame GM Magnus Carlsen in classical chess for the first time in over a decade in round four.
Giri dealt a sensational and rare loss to the world champion. With fantastic piece coordination, the Dutch grandmaster twisted Carlsen’s pieces into knots and created crippling pins down the center of the board.

After the game, Giri shared his belief that another victory against Carlsen was inevitable: “It was clearly going to happen sooner or later because I have been playing very badly vs. him lately. And every time he ups the level of risk. It was clear to me that: Ok, I keep losing to him, but I thought, you know, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel because he is back to taking enormous risks against me just like back when I was a little baby boy.”

Before this win, Giri’s most recent classical victory against Carlsen was 12 years ago when he was just 16 years old at Tata Steel 2011.


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