Praggnanandhaa in pole position to win Polgar Challenge

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa is in pole position to win the Polgar Challenge as the online chess event enters its final day.

The 15-year-old from Chennai won three in a row before being held to a draw against fellow Indian D Gukesh. A final-round loss against Germany’s Vincent Keymar was the only blemish on his copybook.

With just four rounds left to play on Sunday, Team Kramnik star Pragg is on 12/15. Top seed Nodirbek Abdusattorov is just a half-point behind.

Nihal Sarin, another Indian talent, and Awonder Liang are another half-point behind on 11/15 but it is Pragg and Abdusattorov who are the hot favourites.

You can see the full results in detail and the games on chess24’s website here.

The two leaders are due to face each other in a mouth-watering round 19 match that could decide the winner of the first Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour event.

At stake is a chance to play in an elite Meltwater Champions Chess Tour tournament. The winner is likely to get a chance to face World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Team Polgar edged ahead with 75 points to Team Kramnik’s 71. That’s despite Pragg and Abdusattorov both representing Vladimir Kramnik’s team.

First casualty

It was announced before the start of play that due to connection problems IM Dinara Saduakassova, from Uzbekistan, had pulled out.

Play Magnus Group, the Tour organiser, made the following statement on how the event would proceed without her:

Four more rounds will follow on Sunday as the first leg of the new $100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour reaches its climax.

The 20 young talents are divided into two teams, Team Kramnik and Team Polgar. The overall day 1 score finished 25-25.

The players represent 12 nations and are competing for a prize pot totalling $100,000.

Teams of coaches, including world champions and legends of the game are on hand to offer support and coaching.

The Polgar Challenge, named after Judit Polgar, is the first of four tournaments before a tour final in September. The tour is organised by the Play Magnus Group.

The team that wins the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour overall will also get a trip to this year’s World Chess Championship in Dubai.

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