Praggnanandhaa loses to Carlsen, Vaishali beats Muzychuk in Round 8 at Norway Chess Tournament

R Praggnanandhaa

The eighth round of the Norway Chess 2024 tournament witnessed a mix of fortunes for India. While Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa lost to world number one Magnus Carlsen, his elder sister, Vaishali, triumphed over Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine.

Praggnanandhaa vs Carlsen

Praggnanandhaa’s encounter with Carlsen was a highly anticipated match. The two Grandmasters initially played out a draw in the classical format, leading to an Armageddon tiebreaker. In the classical game, Praggnanandhaa displayed solid play, and Carlsen, despite a laboured effort, could only win a pawn, leading to a theoretically drawn rooks and pawns endgame.

However, the return game saw a shift in momentum. Praggnanandhaa could not match Carlsen’s guile and lost a handful of pawns while reaching the endgame. The Indian Grandmaster had two minor pieces against a rook, but Carlsen’s extra material eventually had the final say. This victory extended Carlsen’s lead in the tournament to a full point over Hikaru Nakamura of the United States.

Vaishali vs Muzychuk

In contrast to her brother’s fortunes, Vaishali emerged victorious in her match against Anna Muzychuk, the overnight sole leader. The two players had a finely played classical game, wherein neither could gain an advantage. However, the Armageddon saw Vaishali take advantage of her better-placed rooks to call the shots. This victory marked Vaishali’s second win over Muzychuk in the tournament.

Tournament Standings

With just two rounds left in the six-player double round-robin tournament, Carlsen leads with 14.5 points, ahead of Nakamura on 13.5. Praggnanandhaa, with 12 points, is in third spot, a full point clear of Alireza. In the women’s section, world champion Wenjun Ju of China leads with 14.5 points, benefitting from Muzychuk’s loss against Vaishali. Vaishali is now 1.5 points behind Muzychuk.

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