Praggnanandhaa panics, but regains composure to win Julius Baer Challenger Championship

Indian teen sensation Praggnanandhaa won the Julius Baer Challenger Championship after scoring 2.5 points in three matches.

He started the day with a loss against compatriot Pranav Venkatesh in the third match. It took a game for Praggnanandhaa to adjust to the new time control. He was struggling with it and admitted it too at his post-match interview. He won the next two games convincingly to ensure he scores a minimum 2.5 points in three matches.

Pranav might have lost this match, however he still has the spot at the Champions Chess Tour 2023 which he earned by winning the Challengers Chess Championship 2022. Praggnanandhaa has had a phenomenal 2022 season, beating Five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen three times consecutively.

“First of all before coming, I didn’t feel that well. I wouldn’t say that’s the main reason I lost. He (Pranav) played well when we were getting low on time. I was also panicking because Champions Chess Tour has ten seconds increment. Here the Rapid format has five seconds increment. So that actually makes a huge difference. Let’s say, you repeat once, you get five seconds. So that’s comparatively not much to calculate lines. Today it’s just two seconds, so it took me some time to adapt to 5+2 (time control). I think, (in the) first game I really slowed down a lot,” Praggnanandhaa said about his first-game loss.

After his victory, he also spoke about how having an exceptional chess player in IM Vaishali R in his family has helped him improve.

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“I help her and she also helps me. We sometimes play Blitz, Bullet and stuff. It’s mostly for fun. I think it’s very good to have a chess player in your family. Whenever we have doubts or lose a game, there is someone to know – you just missed this move. I am very happy to just have her. I came to chess because of her,” he said.

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