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Prague Masters Chess 2024: Indian trio play out draws on a dull day

It was time for some recovery for Praggnanandhaa after two back-to-back losses.
Last Updated : 02 March 2024, 08:02 IST

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Prague: The Indian trio of R Praggnanandhaa, D Gukesh and Vidit Gujrathi played out draws on a dull fourth round day in the Prague Masters Chess tournament here.

It was time for some recovery for Praggnanandhaa after two back-to-back losses and the Indian just played a solid game to sign peace with local hopeful Nguyen Thai Dai Van.

Gukesh did not give any chances to Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan and split the point while Gujrathi could not make much headway against Mateusz Bartel of Poland.

The day witnessed no decisive games as the remaining two were also drawn. Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran drew with highest ranked Czech David Navara and Richard Rapport of Romania got the same result against German Vincent Keymer.

As a result the overnight positions remained unchanged with everyone heading a half to their kitty.

Abdusattarov and Maghsoodloo now share the lead on three points out of a possible four Gukesh and Rapport share the third with two and a half points apiece.

Gujrathi stands at fourth spot on two points, a half point ahead of Praggnanandhaa, Navara, Dai Van and Keymer. Bartel moved up to a full point and remained at the bottom of the tables.

The Nimzo Indian has been a part of Praggnanandhaa’s repertoire and he used it effectively as black. The Capablanca variation by Dai Van only saw pieces change hands at regular intervals.

The players arrived at a heavy pieces endgame with white having a little pull but the Indian warded off the threats with a timely pawn sacrifice leading to a theoretically drawn rook and pawns endgame. The game lasted 40 moves.

Abdusattarov again banked on his pet Catalan opening but Gukesh was calm and in control right through. The Uzbek had ridden on his luck in the previous round when he won a lost position against Navara but in the fourth round he was presented with no such opportunity.

Gukesh went for a thematic central breakthrough in the early part of the middle game and developed his forces efficiently to force some exchanges. The players reached a Queen and pawn endgame that was just level and offered no hopes for complications.

Gujrathi’s Scotch opening as white raised visions of a complicated game but Bartel was up to the task even though it looked like the Indian was on top. Gujrathi won a rook for a minor piece but black had sufficient counter-play. The draw was a just result.

In the Challengers section Grandmaster R Vaishali scored her second victory on the trot at the expense of Stepan Herbek of Czech Republic. The victory brought Vaishali back to a fifty percent score after two losses in the first two rounds.

Meanwhile the race for India’s top rated continued and Viswanathan Anand again reclaimed the top spot as Arjun Erigaise lost the second round game against Xiangzhi Bu in the Shenzen Masters in China.

Results round 4 (Indians unless stated): Richard Rapport (Rou, 2.5) drew with Vincent Keymer (Ger, 1.5); David Navara (Cze, 1.5) drew with Parham Maghsoodloo (Iri, 3); Nguyen Thai Dai Van (Cze, 1.5) drew with R Praggnanandhaa (1.5); Nodirbek Abdusattarov (Uzb, 3) drew with D Gukesh (2.5); Vidit Gujrathi (2) drew with Mateusz Bartel (Pol, 1).

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Published 02 March 2024, 08:02 IST

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