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Truly "a wonder!" Praggnanandhaa scores his first GM norm

by Sagar Shah - 22/11/2017

The world was waiting with a bated breath. Praggnanandhaa moved his knight to c6. The little American GM Awonder Liang saw no way to stave off mate and stretched his hand out in resignation! Little Praggu had done it! The boy has scored his maiden GM norm! But there is no time to relax. With 6.5/8 Pragg is in a great position to win the World Juniors title. All that he has to do is beat Norwegian Aryan Tari, who is in the lead, in the ninth round! It's going to be a fascinating finish. We bring you all the action from the eighth round with video analysis by IM Sagar Shah.

Praggnanandhaa scores his maiden GM norm

There was a collective sigh of relief from the entire Indian chess playing population. Praggnanandhaa made his first GM norm! The boy had achieved his IM title one and a half years ago. Every time he would come close to making a GM norm, he would falter. The time to overtake Karjakin's world record of becoming the youngest GM in the world was running out. But Pragg finally delivered and he delivered in style! With a rating performance of 2749, he achieved his GM norm with one round to spare. Mind you, you only need a performance of 2600 to make a GM norm! The first person to tweet about Pragg's GM norm was coach R.B. Ramesh.

Pragg's performance at the World Juniors after eight rounds

Praggnanandhaa vs Awonder Liang

Pragg vs Liang in the match of millennials which took place earlier this year | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Awonder Liang is a very strong opponent. Definitely one of the most talented players in the world. He became a GM at the age of 14 years, second youngest in America (after Sevian) and eleventh youngest in the history of chess. With a rating of 2548, Pragg faced a tough challenge in round eight. But the boy from Chennai had absolutely no problems in overcoming his opponent. As early as 10th move he got a nearly winning position!

The move a4! was extremely strong. The play in the opening revolved around trapping the bishop on b6 and winning the pawn on b7.

Very soon we reached a completely normal position with Black missing a pawn!

The rest was not really a problem for Pragg as he made one strong move after another and soon reached a position where his opponent could have resigned:

Ne5 in this position would have ended the game, as then Black has to give up the rook to stop the pawn from queening. Pragg played b7 when after Nc6 he won the knight

The technical part of the game was not easy. This position requires quite a bit of effort to convert it into a full point. Even though the road was not smooth Pragg reached his destination! And made his maiden GM norm!

One down, two more to go! Or shall we say, three more rounds to go?!! Everyone is hoping that Pragg takes the short cut of winning the World Juniors and becoming a grandmaster!

Video analysis of Pragg's victory:

IM Sagar Shah analyzes Pragg's victory over Awonder Liang!

Karthikeyan's masterpiece!

While major focus has been on Pragg, Karthikeyan Murali played a phenomenal attack against Shardul Gagare to move to 6.0/8. Karthi sacrificed a rook, and broke through to mate Black's king. This is a game worth watching and learning from:

You cannot keep the two-time National Champion quiet for long!

Round 8 results:

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
GMOparin Grigoriy26060 - 16GMTari Aryan2581
IMDragnev Valentin24610 - 1GMAlekseenko Kirill2563
IMPraggnanandhaa R25091 - 0GMLiang Awonder2558
FMSorokin Aleksey2483½ - ½IMXu Xiangyu2543
GMTran Tuan Minh2538½ - ½IMLomasov Semen2490
GMKarthikeyan Murali257851 - 05GMGagare Shardul2482
IMTriapishko Alexandr25085½ - ½5GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2572
GMPetrosyan Manuel255451 - 05IMGholami Aryan2483
IMZanan Evgeny247150 - 15GMBai Jinshi2553
GMShevchenko Kirill25505½ - ½5GMSalomon Johan2476

Rank after Round 8

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 Rpwwew-weKrtg+/-
GMTari AryanNOR25817,00,036,040,046,0282574,982,021020,2
GMAlekseenko KirillRUS25636,50,539,043,046,027186,55,031,471014,7
IMPraggnanandhaa RIND25096,50,537,541,045,027496,54,092,411024,1
IMLomasov SemenRUS24906,00,039,043,044,0269063,892,111021,1
IMXu XiangyuCHN25436,00,037,541,544,0263465,080,92109,2
GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND25786,00,036,540,545,0266365,160,84108,4
FMLiu YanCHN24226,00,036,539,044,0268963,132,871028,7
FMSorokin AlekseyRUS24836,00,034,537,545,0267364,002,001020,0
GMPetrosyan ManuelARM25546,00,034,038,045,0262365,330,67106,7
GMBai JinshiCHN25536,00,034,038,045,0262165,330,67106,7

Pairings for round 9:

Round 9 on 2017/11/22 at 15:00

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
GMTari Aryan25817IMPraggnanandhaa R2509
GMAlekseenko Kirill25636GMKarthikeyan Murali2578
IMLomasov Semen249066GMPetrosyan Manuel2554
GMBai Jinshi255366GMTran Tuan Minh2538
IMXu Xiangyu254366FMLiu Yan2422
GMVan Foreest Jorden26166FMSorokin Aleksey2483
IMKantor Gergely2514GMOparin Grigoriy2606
GMSvane Rasmus2587IMTriapishko Alexandr2508
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2572IMDragnev Valentin2461
GMSalomon Johan2476GMMartirosyan Haik M.2561

World Junior Girls

Two Indian girls have a great chance of winning a medal. They are Aakanksha Hagawane and R. Vaishali.

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 nwwew-weKrtg+/-
144WGMParamzina AnastasyaRUS21236,51,036,036,545,086,52,643,862077,2
21IMAbdumalik ZhansayaKAZ24286,50,037,040,546,086,55,510,99109,9
310IMOsmak IulijaUKR23456,00,038,543,044,0864,801,201012,0
413FMYu JenniferUSA23216,00,035,038,044,0864,721,282025,6
514WIMObolentseva AlexandraRUS23206,00,034,037,046,0864,361,642032,8
611WGMTsolakidou StavroulaGRE23406,00,032,535,545,0864,891,112022,2
716WGMTokhirjonova GulrukhbegimUZB23066,00,032,535,544,0865,740,26205,2
815WIMAakanksha HagawaneIND23125,50,037,541,043,085,54,481,022020,4
98IMNomin-Erdene DavaademberelMGL23585,50,037,541,035,074,54,020,48104,8
1012WIMVaishali RIND23255,50,036,540,544,085,55,080,42208,4


Can Vaishali make it to the podium! Perhaps it would be the first time that a brother-sister duo would be winning medals at the World Juniors

The golden girl of India! Can Aakanksha put her foot on the accelerator in the last three rounds and make it to the podium?

We are very sure that you have all seen the ChessBase India show that was conducted by IM Sagar Shah when he went to Praggnanandhaa's place in Chennai. However, in case you have missed it, here's your chance to see Pragg in action. How does the boy calculate, what does he think and how is he able to find his way through the maze of complications so easily:

Previous Reports on World Junior Championship

Coverage in English

World Juniors 01: Event opens with early shocks

World Junior 02: Four on a perfect score

World Junior 03: Only one Indian remains at the top

Praggnanandhaa stuns top seed Jorden van Foreest at the World Juniors

World Juniors 04: Harsha Bharathakoti loses his lead

World Junior 05: Chennai champs win the day!

World Junior 06+07: Just past the half way mark Pragg is joint second

Coverage in Hindi

विश्व जूनियर चैंपियनशिप :भारत की युवा उम्मीद !!

विश्व जूनियर चैंपियनशिप 2017 - अभी तो ये आरंभ है !

विश्व जूनियर - क्या प्रग्गानंधा जीत सकते थे ?

Coverage on Firstpost

World Juniors: Harsha Bharathakoti quickly off the mark, Aravindh Chithambaram suffers shock defeat

World Juniors: 12-year-old R Praggnanandhaa chases youngest Grand Master dream, throws tournament wide ope