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 defeat against compatriot Pranav Venkatesh in the third match. Praggnanandhaa needed a match to adjust to the new time control. He struggled with it and also admitted it during his post-game interview. He won the next two games convincingly to ensure he scores at least 2.5 points in three games.

Pranav may have lost this match, but he still holds the spot on the 2023 Champions Chess Tour that he earned by winning the 2022 Challengers Chess Championship. Praggnanandhaa has had a phenomenal 2022 season, beating five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen three times in a row.

“First of all, I didn’t feel very well before I came. I wouldn’t say that’s the main reason I lost. He (Pranav) played well when we were almost on time. I also panicked because Champions Chess Tour has ten seconds time. Here, the Rapid format has an interval of five seconds. So that actually makes a huge difference. Let’s say you repeat once, you get five seconds. So that’s relatively not much to calculate lines. Today it’s only two seconds, so it took me some time to adjust to 5+2 (time control). I think[in the]first game I really slowed down a lot,” Praggnanandhaa said of his loss in the first game.

After his win, he also shared how having an exceptional chess player in IM Vaishali R in his family helped him to get better.

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“I help her and she helps me too. We sometimes play Blitz, Bullet and stuff. It’s mainly for fun. I think it’s very good to have a chess player in your family. When we have doubts or lose a game, someone knows – you just missed this move. I’m very glad I just got her. I started playing chess because of her,” he said.

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