Julius Baer CCT Finals: Praggnanandhaa dominates Keymer to reach the Finals
Vincent Keymer might have been the favorite as he won more number of events in the tour, however Praggnanandhaa showed who is the better player as Keymer lost to him 0.5-2.5 in the Semifinals of Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour Finals. Pragg once again did not give any chance to his opponent as he was completely solid in all three games. He was winning the third game too but decided to draw as it was enough to secure his place in the Finals. GM Awonder Liang could not recover from his first round loss as he lost the next two also against IM Christopher Yoo who is known to have a GM strength. Pragg-Yoo Finals will start today at 7:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Rupali Mullick
Yoo overpowers Liang
IM Christopher Yoo defeated countryman GM Awonder Liang in all three games to secure his spot in the Finals.
Keymer - Praggnanandhaa: 0.5-2.5
Praggnanandhaa scored an emphatic victory in the first game after Keymer made a strange decision in the endgame.
Keymer - Praggnanandhaa, Game 1
White needed to play 27.bxa5 to make sure things do not go out of hand. 27.Bh5 was a phantom threat as nothing is happening on f7. After 27...axb4 28.axb4 Rd4 29.Rb1 Bd5 30.b5 c5 31.b6+ Kc6 Black gained complete advantage.
Praggnanandhaa once again played endgame beautifully in the second game against Keymer.
Praggnanandhaa - Keymer, Game 2
31...Rxb3 would have kept things balanced for Black. 31...a4 exchange only helps White as Black has no more threats left and White's knights are relatively better placed and menacing. A couple of more inaccuracies later, Keymer arrived at a completely lost position. Pragg gained a 0-2 lead.
Being in a must-win situation, Keymer tried too hard and arrived at a lost position in the final moments of the double rook endgame. Praggnanandhaa decided to repeat moves and make a draw as it was enough for him to win the Semifinals and advance to the Finals.
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Every day between 14th and 17th October, game starts at 7:30 p.m. IST.
The format for the final eight-player knockout will be four rapid games with 10 minutes per player for each game, plus a 5-second increment added each move. If the score is level at 2:2 a playoff will feature two 5+3 blitz games. If needed, there will be Armageddon to decide the winner of the match.