Chennai: Young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa went down fighting to world No.2 Ding Liren in the tie-break of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Chessable Masters 2022 online tournament final early on Friday.
The 16-year-old from Chennai fought back to win the second set after having lost the opener. But then lost the two-game blitz tie-breaker.
The Indian GM, who had lost the first set 1.5-2.5, hit back to win the second 2.5-1.5 and force the blitz tie-break.
The 29-year-old Liren used his experience to trump Praggnanandhaa in the second of the tie-break games. After the first blitz game ended in stalemate, the Chinese player won the next in 49 moves to dash the Indian teenager’s hopes.
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Earlier in the second set which he needed to win to force a tie-break, Praggnanandhaa got the all-important victory in the second game in 79 moves.
The next game saw the two dish out a 106-move draw before another stalemate meant the title would be decided by the tie-breaker.
After the final, the Indian prodigy’s coach R B Ramesh praised his ward’s efforts and wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations Ding for beating both Pragg AND the mosquitoes! Proud of you @rpragchess, showed good nerves and character overall in tough situations.”
The Indian GM had defeated the highly-rated Dutchman Anish Giri in the semifinal to become the first Indian player to reach the final of a Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event.
He had beaten world No.1, Magnus Carlsen, for a second time during the preliminary phase in which he finished fourth and got past Wei Yi of China in the quarterfinals.