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FTX Crypto Cup: Pragnanandhaa beats Hans Neimann to be in lead with Magnus Carlsen

He made a comeback in game 2 as Neimann made a positional mistake and Pragg gained an advantage.

New Delhi: Rameshbabu Pragnanandhaa is continuing to dominate in the tournament. After emphatic victories against Alireza Firouzja and Anish Giri, the 17-year-old Indian grandmaster went on to beat USA’s top junior Hans Neimann in the third round. With this win, he enjoys the lead along with Magnus Carlsen who is at the top with nine points.

Neimann beat Pragnanandhaa in the first game as he landed in a worse endgame position after the queens were exchanged. He made a comeback in game 2 as Neimann made a positional mistake and Pragg gained an advantage. After the third game ended in a draw, Pragnanandhaa won the fourth game to win the match. Though Neimann won the first game against Magnus and Pragnanandhaa, he has still not won a match in the tournament.

Picture courtesy: Chessbase India

Meanwhile, Le Quang Liam defeated Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2.5-0.5. Round 3 also saw the first armageddon game of the FTX Crypto Cup as Anish Giri and Alireza Firouzja drew their all four rapid games and the two blitz games. Giri lost the armageddon battle, while the player would regret missing winning opportunities in two rapid games. Carlsen played a comfortable victory against Levon Aronian with a win in the first game followed by three draws.

GM R Pragnanandhaa (2661) vs GM Moke Hans Neimann (2687)- Game 2

With both the players trying to castle artificially, Pragnanandhaa landed in a slightly better position. His doubled rooks on the c-file proved to be an asset in the game. Neimann went 33…axb3 which proved to be a positional mistake as after exchanging the pawns black cannot take control of the open a-file because of the weak c6 pawn.

Picture courtesy: Chessbase India

It was just a matter of time before Pragnanandhaa started to steal black’s pawns. Neimann was forced to resign on move 56 as the white king captured the knight.

GM R Pragnanandhaa (2661) vs GM Moke Hans Neimann (2687)- Game 4

They played the same line as game 2 between them, and Pragg deviated with 10.Nf3 and black castled this time. The position was roughly equal throughout while Pragg gained some advantage in between. It was on move 57 when black went Rg1 that the things went out of Neimann’s hands. Neimann did not want to exchange the rooks but ended up giving up the pinned bishop. Nothing was left for him in the game and he had to resign on move 64.

Gukesh is world number 19!

Meanwhile, another Indian junior is continuing the dominance. After a miraculous performance in the Olympiad, Gukesh headed to play for the Turkish Airlines Sports Club in the Turkish Super League 2022. He has scored two victories against GM Aryan Gholami (2507) and GM Andrey Esipenko (2692), which helped him gain 7.4 Elo points. With a live rating of 2732.6, Gukesh is now world number 19.