Young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa went down fighting to world No.2 Ding Liren in the tie-break of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Chessable Masters 2022 online tournament final early on Friday.
The 16-year-old from Chennai fought back to win the second set after having lost the opener. But then lost the two-game blitz tie-breaker.
The Indian GM, who had lost the first set 1.5-2.5, hit back to win the second 2.5-1.5 and force the blitz tie-break.
The 29-year old Liren used his experience to trump Praggnanandhaa in the second of the tie-break games. After the first blitz game ended in stalemate, the Chinese player won the next in 49 moves to dash the Indian teenager’s hopes.
Earlier in the second set which he needed to win to force a tie-break, Praggnanandhaa got the all-important victory in the second game in 79 moves.
The next game saw the two dish out a 106-move draw before another stalemate meant the title would be decided by the tie-breaker.
After the final, the Indian prodigy’s coach R B Ramesh praised his ward’s efforts and wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations Ding for beating both Pragg AND the mosquitoes! Proud of you @rpragchess, showed good nerves and character overall in tough situations.”
The Indian GM had defeated the highly-rated Dutchman Anish Giri in the semifinal to become the first Indian player to reach the final of a Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event.
He had beaten world No.1 Magnus Carlsen for a second time during the preliminary phase in which he finished fourth and got past Wei Yi of China in the quarterfinals.