Chess: Teenagers at the top in Reykjavik, while the English experience fades at the end | Chess

India’s 16-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, widely regarded as a future world-class grandmaster, added to his growing reputation on Tuesday when he won the first prize of € 5,000 at the Reykjavik Open with an unbeatable 7, 5/9. Prior to his career, the Chennai teenager was the youngest international teacher ever, among the youngest GM ever and the second youngest to reach a 2600 Fide rating.

He was spotted in this column more than five years ago for a brilliance of 18 moves at the age of 11 on the Isle of Man that has gone global and has been compared to Bobby Fischer’s century game against Donald Byrne.

Most recently, Praggnandhaa’s online victory over Magnus Carlsen in the Airthings Masters made him the youngest to beat No. 1 in a serious game. The quality of his play in Reykjavik was also impressive, especially with a brilliance in the penultimate round.

3811: Johann Hjartarson v Mats Andersen, Reykjavik 2022. White to play and win. In the actual game Hjartarson chose 1 e7? and the game was designed 35 moves later.

Yet, in spite of everything, Praggnanandhaa’s victory in Reykjavik came courtesy of a final gift from another Indian prodigy. Dommaraju Gukesh, 15, was two pawns close to the time control of the 40th move, but two catastrophic mistakes were given before the victory, after the draw, before allowing a decisive checkmate in a threat.

Two other teenagers have made their mark in Iceland, the youngest GM ever, 13-year-old Abhimanyu Mishra, suffered criticism when he won the title via all-play-closed locks in Budapest which some thought was too easy. Mishra responded to his detractors by continuing to advance. His second draw in Iceland pushed his Fide rankings to 2535, giving him a full year to break the record for the youngest player of 2600, currently held by John Burke of the United States at 14 years and two months.

Hans Niemann is 18 years old, old by prodigy standards, but the California streamer, Harvard’s refusal, and the 2021 U.S. junior champion forced his way into the spotlight with a sustained run where he won 150 evaluation points in 18 months to reach the top 100 in the world. , accompanied by an inventive attack game. Niemann has scored a draw with Black against Carlsen in the online Charity Cup, plans to play nine tournaments in a row this summer, and has unlimited ambition. See his final miniature in the style of Mikhail Tal.

England have had 26 players in Reykjavik, the largest number in an overseas opening for several years, as players from GM and IM to veterans and teenagers have taken their chances.

Brandon Clarke had the best English result, finishing 12th with a 6.5 / 9 and only one defeat. The much-traveled 26-year-old Midlander has had spells in California and Australia, where he won the New Zealand Open, and is now back home and well established in the top 20 in England.

England’s exceptional success came in the senior category over 65, where IM Surrey Peter Large, 66, and Nigel Povah, 69, tied for first 5.5 / 9 with a six-time lead. the European gold medalist and silver medalist of the USSR championship Oleg Romanishin, 70. Romanishin, who now represents Ukraine, was placed first in tie-break with Large second and Povah third. Large total included draws with both Romanishin and No. 4 seed from India and Baskan Adhiban 2633.

The last few rounds have also brought some painful English encounters, particularly for “Ginger GM” Simon Williams, Guildford’s Harry Grieve who missed his second GM standard, and the talented 12-year-old Sohum Lohia, whose skills calculation were exposed the two final rounds, but that even so obtained a considerable gain of evaluation points.

And Carlsen? The multi-talented world champion, who impressed in 2019 when he led more than seven million rivals in Fantasy Football, has demonstrated another skill – at poker. The Norwegian Poker Championship was played in Dublin due to Norway’s strict gambling laws, and Carlsen finished 25th out of 1050 players, winning a cash prize of around € 5,000.

Carlsen was finally defeated by poker specialist Tom Aksel Bedell, who later said he did not really want to win, as he considered Carlsen one of Norway’s top three athletes, alongside footballer Erling Haaland and golfer Viktor Hovland. .

Carlsen will return to the chessboard on April 22, when the Oslo Esports Cup, part of the Meltwater Champions Tour, begins in Oslo. Unique to the Tour, all eight players will be physically present in the studio, instead of playing remotely from their homes. A major attraction for chess fans is that Praggnandhaa, the teenage star of the moment, will be one of Carlsen’s seven rivals.

3811: 1 Df7 +! Nxf7 2 exf7 + Kf8 3 Ng6 + Dxg6 4 hxg6 Rb8 5 Kg2 and the two extra white pawns will win, even if it takes a while. The main point, which Hjartarson missed, is 1 Qf7 + Nxf7 2 exf7 + Kh7 and now 3 fxe8 = Q ?? Qg2 +! 4 Kxg2 is a stall draw but 3 fxe8 = B! win. A forced promotion to bishop is exceptionally rare.

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