Junior Speed Chess: Wei Yi Beats Praggnanandhaa 14.5-11.5

Junior Speed Chess: Wei Yi Beats Praggnanandhaa 14.5-11.5

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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14 | Chess.com News

Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu put up a great fight, but eventually Wei Yi was a mountain too high. The Chinese grandmaster won their Junior Speed Chess Championship match on Friday with a score of 14.5-11.5.

13-year-old Praggnanandaa once again showed his talent in his match with Wei Yi, which he only lost by a three-point margin. That was an excellent achievement for the young Indian player, who had the odds much against him.

SmarterChess Wei Yi Praggnanandhaa Junior Speed Chess Championship
SmarterChess had Wei Yi as the big favorite vs. Praggnanandhaa.

The match was highly combative, and saw only two draws in total. Early on, it looked like Pragg might have been a mismatch against his six years older opponent, who ran away with three consecutive wins right from the start. In his black game he blew away his opponent on the kingside:

Just in time Praggnanandhaa struck back, before things would get out of control. In a wild game, where White had a "steel king" running to d4, things could go either way as both players were playing with just a few seconds on the clock. And then, Wei suddenly flagged—which he would do three times in this match.

Pragg also won the next game, and was back in business. He nicely outplayed his opponent in an endgame:

Praggnanandhaa Junior Speed Chess Championship
However, then it was Wei's turn again to hit back. He won three games in a row to reach a 5-2 score, but then Pragg won the last five-minute game to go into the three-minute games being two points down.

5|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Score
1 Wei Yi @LOVEVAE 2914 2497 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 5.0/8
2 Praggnanandhaa @rpragchess 2408 2825 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 3.0/8

Praggnanandhaa then added two more wins, and suddenly the score was all equal again: 5-5. Afterward he said that at that point he was just thinking: “Just keep going like this, do your best."

The end of the 10th game was super exciting:

The young Indian lad couldn't keep it up. Wei won the next two games, and would never give up his lead anymore, which would alternate between a three, four and five-point margin for the remainder. 

Pragg's biggest blunder came in game 12:

Game 14 also begs to be embedded here. Wild stuff, where at some point Black seemed to be playing Chess960...

3|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Wei Yi @LOVEVAE 2834 2667 0 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 0 1 5.5/9
2 Praggnanandhaa @rpragchess 2588 2755 1 1 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 0 3.5/9


Wei was leading 10.5-6.5 at the start of the bullet. This part was actually won by Praggnanandhaa, but with a margin of one point, too small to make the difference.

In bullet anything happens, including losing a game where you were up a piece for most of the time:

In this game Wei Yi showed the power of knights vs. bad bishops:

Wei Yi Junior Speed Chess Championship
Wei Yi Junior Speed Chess Championship

1|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
1 Praggnanandhaa @rpragchess 2676 3048 1 ½ 0 0 1 1 ½ 0 1 5.0/9
2 Wei Yi @LOVEVAE 3010 2638 0 ½ 1 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 4.0/9

"It was a very difficult match and my opponent missed a lot of chances in the three-minutes games. Otherwise the result would have been unpredictable," said Wei. 

Praggnanandhaa agreed that maybe too often he was perhaps trying to find the best move. "Maybe I should have played faster."

Both had to play quite late. For Pragg, the match finished after 1 a.m. in Chennai, and Wei was still up in the middle of the night, in Chengdu.

Wei Yi: “It’s now 4 o’clock in China but but it’s always nice to play chess!”

Pragg: “I came from the French leg and I had some jet lag so there was no problem playing this match.”

Junior Speed Chess Championship bracket

Praggnanandhaa earned $177 based on win percentage; Wei Yi won $400 for the victory plus $223 on percentage, totaling $623. The Chinese GM moves on to the next round, where he will play Jorden van Foreest on July 2.

The next match on the calendar is Sam Sevian vs. Nihal Sarin on June 3. The winner will play Alireza Firouzja on July 9.

Junior Speed Chess Championship schedule

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen grandmasters age 21 or younger play in a knockout format with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess.

You can replay the live broadcast here.

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