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Prague Masters: Parham Maghsoodloo Defeats R Praggnanandhaa Due to a Faltering Start

In the second round of the Prague Masters Chess competition, Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa lost to Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran due to a mistake he made under time constraint.

Praggnanandhaa’s remarkable 47-game winning run in classical chess was snapped with the loss.

The renowned Viswanathan Anand, who is also the event’s brand ambassador, recaptured the top place in live ratings among Indians, which the 18-year-old Praggnanandhaa had previously held.

Three of the ten-player round-robin event’s games resulted in draws, but D Gukesh stunned Nguyen Thai Dai Van of the Czech Republic with an outstanding display with black pieces.

With seven rounds remaining, Gukesh and Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan, who drew with Vidit Gujrathi of India, are behind Iranian GM Maghsoodloo by a half point.

Vincent Keymer of Germany and Mateusz Bartel of Poland are tied for eighth place with 0.5 points each, while Praggnanandhaa, Gujrathi, Richard Rapport of Romania, and David Navara of the Czech Republic share the fourth position with one point each. The lone player that hasn’t created an account yet is Van.

From a position from which he might have been easily salvaged on another day, Praggnanandhaa went down fighting. Playing the black side of a London System, the Indian equalized with relative ease, and Maghsoodloo never stopped trying to make things more difficult.

Praggnanandhaa even appeared better at one point in the midst of the game, but it was difficult to complete with the time running out. By then, Maghsoodloo had trained his sights to target the black monarch; all he needed was a mistake that resulted in several threats. In 38 moves, it was over.

In a reverse Benoni match in which Dai Van played white, Gukesh’s persistence paid off. Gukesh just maintained his lead throughout the game by making gradual and consistent progress, and his strategy paid off when the Czech player handed up a rook for a little piece.

Gukesh wasted no time in switching to an endgame and coming up with a stunning finish to press the issue. 52 moves were used in the game.

Abdusattarov offered an early pawn sacrifice to Gujrathi in a Four Knights opening. Despite having less material than his opponent, the Uzbek, playing black, never seemed to be in any serious danger and ultimately drew in only 35 moves.

In other games, Keymer had little trouble reaching a peace treaty with Navara, while Bartel Mateusz had an easy game with Rapport.

In the Challengers division, R Vaishali fell short of Turkish player Ediz Gurel for the second time in a row.

Results Round 2 (Indians unless otherwise noted): Richard Rapport (Romania, 1) drew with Bartel Mateusz (Pol, 0.5); Nguyen Thai Dai Van (Cze, 0) lost to D Gukesh (1.5); Vidit Gujrathi (1) drew with Nodirbek Abdusattarov (Uzb, 1.5); Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran, 2) defeated R Praggnanandhaa (1); David Navara (Cze, 1) defeated R Praggnanandhaa (1); Dai Van Nguyen Thai Dai Van (Cze, 0).

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