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Chessable Masters final: Praggnanandhaa falters at opening hurdle | Chess News – Times of India

The final of the Chessable Masters started with Ding Liren giving 16-year-old R Praggnanandhaa a tough test just hours after the talented youngster sat a real-life school exam.
Ding showed exactly why he’s ranked world No. 2 with a cool and classy display to take the first of two matches of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour’s first all-Asian final 2.5-1.5.
The second will be played on Thursday, and, if needed, tiebreaks to decide who is the tournament winner. Ding started the final perfectly as he reeled off a smooth win. For Praggu, it was hard to see where he went wrong. Just accumulation of small mistakes was enough for Ding to take the lead.
But Praggu came back hard in the second as two extra pawns in the endgame proved too much for his opponent. Ding resigned and had to sigh. Perhaps the boy wonder, who earlier in the day took an 11th grade end of year exam, wasn’t as tired as everyone expected?
Praggu then crumbled again in the third as Ding went 2-1 up. Ding clinched the encounter by forcing through a pawn in the endgame. Finally, Ding steered the fourth game to a draw to see out the match-win.
Grandmaster David Howell said: “He’s the world no.2 for a reason, and he showed that in the last two games.” However, there was no big celebration or show of relief after Ding’s win.
“It was a tough match, I’m very happy with my performance,” the 29-year-old said. “My strategy is to avoid any complicated lines and any long or forced lines!”
Giving an update on his school exam earlier in the day, Praggu said: “It went decent, it went well, I could say. Probably it shouldn’t be a problem. I guess I will pass!”
The pair will resume the final on Thursday with Praggu needing to win the second match to take the final to tiebreaks.

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