GM Praggnanandhaa wins Xtracon Open 2019 and his sister Vaishali makes her maiden GM norm

Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali (photo credit: Sportstar)

The Indian 13-year-old Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa started out Xtracon Open 2019 as the 21st seed, scored an unbeaten 8.5/10 at a performance rating of 2741, to win the tournament convincingly. He finished a half-point ahead of the pack of five players who were all higher-rated than him. His sister WGM R. Vaishali also performed admirably by scoring 7.5/10 and scored her maiden GM-norm and second IM-norm. She is the only woman to have finished in top 25 in the tournament.

Photo Credit: Amruta Mokal

Praggnanandhaa made a hard-fought draw in the last round against GM Samuel Sevian of USA in a marathon game of 73 moves where the majority of the game was Queen ending. Pragg was worse throughout the game and showed some fantastic defensive skills to hold a nearly lost queen endgame. This crucial half-point helped him to win the biggest tournament of his chess career.

Just like her brother, Vaishali also played a marathon game consisting of 72 moves in the final round to defeat GM Jonny Hector of Sweden. Vaishali had double rook and double bishop against double rook, bishop and knight which eventually liquidated into a winning rook and bishop against rook and knight endgame.



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