MCCT Finals R3: Praggnanandhaa squashes Liem 3-0
Praggnanandhaa scored his first match victory in the third round of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals. He defeated the former World Blitz champion, Liem Quang Le in three consecutive games. In all three games, the 17-year-old showed a fantastic positional understanding, punctuated by his sharp tactical awareness. This 3-0 win propelled him to the fourth spot on the points table, sharing the same score 4/9 with Giri and Liem. Arjun Erigaisi's tough form continues as he suffered another loss in just three games. This time against the former World Fischer Random champion, Wesley So. Carlsen defeated Mamedyarov 3-0 and Duda defeated Giri 2.5-0.5. Round 4 pairings are, Praggnanandhaa vs So and Mamedyarov vs Arjun Erigaisi, starting tonight 18th November at 1:30 a.m. IST. Photo: ChessBase India live stream
A minimal day
All four matches of the third round needed only three games to decide the victor. Both Magnus Carlsen and R Praggnanandhaa did not allow their opponents Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Liem Quang Le to score any points. Wesley So and Jan-Krzysztof Duda defeated Arjun Erigaisi and Anish Giri by 2.5-0.5. The odd round timings of 1:30 a.m. IST might be a key factor in Arjun having a very tough tournament.
Praggnanandhaa - Liem: 3-0
R Praggnanandhaa launched a very nice attack on the kingside against Liem Quang Le in the first game.
Praggnanandhaa - Liem, Game 1
17.Ng5 Rc6 18.Rac1 Rfc8 and we get the above position. White wants to bring the f4-knight into action, so before playing Nh5, White needed to take care of his c1-rook 19.Rxc6 Rxc6 20.Nh5 Ne4 21.Qd4 and things have gone out of hand for Black. 21...Qc3 22.Nxe6 fxe6 23.Qxa7 and White has gained a decisive advantage. 23...Nd2 24.Rd1 Qc1 Black's final attempt to get some kind of semblance to the position. 25.Qb8+ Kf7 26.Qxb7+ Ke8 27.Nxg7+ after munching a few pawns and checks later, the queen retreated to h5 to defend the rook and prevent any kind of perpetual check possibilities which was Black's last resort.
Liem made a shaky start in the second game. He did not get a good position out of the Open Catalan.
Liem - Praggnanandhaa, Game 2
Praggnanandhaa opted for the relatively safer 15...0-0. However, since the black king cannot be attacked anytime soon, despite being at the middle of the board, 15...c6 was a viable option.
After a few sporadic mistakes, finally 38.Kg2 caught up to White. 38...hxg4 39.f6+ Kh7 40.Rf4 Rg5 41.Re2 Ba3 42.Qe3 Bd6 43.Re4 Rh5 and Black won the game in the next few moves.
Liem made a positional mistake in the third game which was correctly exploited by his opponent, Praggnanandhaa.
Praggnanandhaa - Liem, Game 3
28...Nef8 would have held the position together for Black. However, 28...Ndf8 doesn't. Find out the key difference.
Black did not require blocking the check. He can afford to give up the bishop 39...Kf8 40.Qxb7 exf2+ 41.Kh1 Qe1 and now White would have been forced to find perpetual checks to avoid the checkmate threat. 39...Qe7 40.Qxe7+ Kxe7 41.fxe3 fxe3 42.b5 and the same color bishop endgame is winning for White. Praggnanandhaa won the game and match by 3-0.
So - Arjun: 2.5-0.5
Arjun Erigaisi fought back and saved a half point, after being worse for the better part of the first game against Wesley So.
So - Arjun, Game 1
35.h3 was not needed. 35.Rf1 would have been fine for White. 35.h3 created a target for Black Nxh3 36.Ra8 Rxb7 White's advantage evaporated and Black's precise play earned him a half point. Arjun lost the next two games and thus the match too 2.5-0.5.
Jan-Krzysztof Duda perhaps scored the most beautiful win of the day against Anish Giri in their third game of the third round.
Duda - Giri, Game 3
Try to find the winning continuation for White which Duda executed after 27...Rac8 in the above position.
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All games will start from 1:30 a.m. IST between 15th and 21st November 2022.