Praggnanandhaa wins Xtracon Open 2019, Vaishali makes her maiden GM norm
India's wunderkind 13-year-old GM R Praggnanandhaa started out Xtracon Open 2019 as the 21st seed, scored an unbeaten 8.5/10 at a performance rating of 2741, to win the tournament convincingly. He finished a half point ahead of the pack of five players who were all higher rated than him. His sister WGM R. Vaishali also performed admirably by scoring 7.5/10 and scored her maiden GM-norm and second IM-norm. She is the only woman to have finished in top 25 in the tournament. One of the newest IM's of India, 11-year-old Bharath Subramaniyam H also made his presence felt, by finishing at 16th ahead of 11 other GMs and beating two 2600+ opponents. Photo: Amruta Mokal
The Golden Indian siblings dominate at Denmark
Praggnanandhaa made a hard fought draw in the last round against GM Samuel Sevian of USA in marathon game of 73 moves where the majority of the game was Queen ending. Pragg was worse throughout the game and showed some fantastic defensive skills to hold a nearly lost queen endgame. This crucial half point helped him to win the biggest tournament of his chess career.
Here is Pragg's final round game against Samuel Sevian:
Just like her brother, Vaishali also played a marathon game consisting of 72 moves in the final round to defeat GM Jonny Hector of Sweden. Vaishali had double rook and double bishop against double rook, bishop and knight which eventually liquidated into a winning rook and bishop against rook and knight endgame.
Bharath made a strong comeback by defeating GM Rasmus Svane (2615) of Germany in round 7. Then he lost against Norwegian GM Aryan Tari (2620) in round 8, but that did not deter Bharath from his goal. He drew with local GM Sune Berg Hansen (2575) in the penultimate round and went on to beat GM Igor Lysyj (2623) of Russia in the final round.
Bharath accepted a piece sacrifice early in the game. Now whether this was a sacrifice or a blunder is an open question. However his opponent Lysyj did not manage to cause as much damage to Bharath's kingside as he would have preferred. Bharath made use of his extra material at the very end of the game, to bring the full point and become the youngest to finish in top 20 in this tournament.
Final Ranking after 10 Rounds
|6||17||GM||Rasmussen Allan Stig||DEN||2569||8,0||52,0||51,75||0,0|
|11||5||GM||Hammer Jon Ludvig||NOR||2637||7,5||53,5||48,25||0,0|
|16||32||CM||H Bharath Subramaniyam||IND||2405||7,5||52,0||47,00||0,0|
|18||30||IM||Holm Kristian Stuvik||NOR||2469||7,5||49,0||44,50||0,0|
|20||28||IM||Hauge Lars Oskar||NOR||2476||7,5||49,0||42,50||0,0|
We will soon have interviews with Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali published on our newspage along with inputs by their trainer R.B. Ramesh. Stay tuned.