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May 18, 2021

Indian wonderkid Praggnanandhaa wins Polgar Challenge with a round to spare

2 min read

Indian prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa booked himself a chance to take on the very best in chess with a stunning victory in the Polgar Challenge.

The 15-year-old from Chennai secured the first online title in the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour and a $3,000 top prize with a round to spare on Sunday.

Praggnanandhaa wins not just the cash purse but a golden ticket to the next event in the elite Meltwater Champions Chess Tour on April 24 where he can test himself against the world’s best.

With just four games finishing off the tournament, a hotly-anticipated final round decider against top seed Nodirbek Abdusattorov was on the cards.

But that clash of the top two title-chasers overnight became irrelevant as Praggnanandhaa simply won his first three games and therefore couldn’t be stopped.

Chess legend Judit Polgar, a former top 10 player and the strongest female player in the game’s history, said the youngster’s win was “fully deserved and extremely convincing”.

Praggnanandhaa’s coach for the tour, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, said it’s not unrealistic to predict he will play a match for the World Championship someday: “His talent is on the scale of the guys who we all know!”

Kramnik added: “He reminds me so much of a young Vishy (Anand), in every way.”

The Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour returns on June 10 for the Gelfand Challenge when the two teams of players will be competing for a $15,000 prize pot and another wildcard entry into the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.

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