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Praggnanandhaa Leads Polgar Challenge Halfway
Praggnanandhaa at Sitges 2018. Photo: Peter Doggers/Chess.com.

Praggnanandhaa Leads Polgar Challenge Halfway

PeterDoggers
| 32 | Chess Event Coverage

After 10 of 19 rounds, GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu leads the Polgar Challenge, the first leg of the new Challengers Chess Tour. Competing in two teams are 20 young and talented players coached by GM Vladimir Kramnik and GM Judit Polgar

How to watch?
The games of the Polgar Challenge can be found here as part of our new events page. Play starts daily at 16:00 CEST (7 a.m. Pacific, 10 a.m. Eastern).


Sponsored by the Swiss private banking corporation Julius Baer, the $100,000 Challengers Chess Tour is a small version of the Champions Chess Tour and focuses on young players. There will be four rapid tournaments in total, followed by an eight-player final.

There are 20 players, 10 male (under 18) and 10 female (under 25). Although the players compete individually in these round-robins, they are also representing "Team Kramnik" and "Team Polgar." The winning team will get to travel to Dubai in November for the 2021 World Championship match.

Teams & Players

# Fed TEAM POLGAR Age Rating # Fed TEAM KRAMNIK Age Rating
1 Nihal Sarin 16 2620 1 Nodirbek Abdusattorov 16 2627
2 Awonder Liang 17 2592 2 Praggnanandhaa 15 2608
3 Vincent Keymer 16 2591 3 Jonas Bjerre 16 2550
4 Gukesh D 14 2578 4 Leon Mendonca 15 2549
5 Sarasadat Khademalsharieh 24 2494 5 Lei Tingjie 24 2505
6 Volodar Murzin 14 2478 6 Dinara Saduakassova 24 2500
7 Polina Shuvalova 20 2476 7 Christopher Yoo 14 2455
8 Zhansaya Abdumalik 21 2472 8 Olga Badelka 18 2433
9 Zhu Jiner 18 2459 9 Carissa Yip 17 2430
10 Gunay Mammadzada 20 2443 10 Nurgyul Salimova 17 2397

After 10 rounds, Praggnanandhaa leads with 8.5 points. He only lost in the very first round to 14-year-old Russian IM Volodar Murzin in a King's Indian. This author is happy to see that at least one of the champions of the new generation still has faith in this opening.

Among the players defeated by Pragg is his good friend and the top seed in the tournament, GM Nihal Sarin

Nihal Sarin chess
Nihal Sarin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

One of the tournament's best games is the following, at least in terms of esthetics. That final position is pure art:

Interestingly, after the first five rounds, the score between Team Kramnik and Team Polgar was tied and now, after 10 rounds, the score is still completely equal.

Polgar Challenge | Round 10 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Pts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1 Praggnanandhaa 2608 2787 1 ½ 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.5/10
2 Abdusattorov 2627 2756 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 1 8.0/10 38.5
3 Yoo 2455 2745 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 8.0/10 33.25
4 Nihal 2620 2656 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 7.0/10 33.25
5 Gukesh 2578 2675 0 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 7.0/10 31.5
6 Keymer 2591 2584 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 6.0/10 24.75
7 Liang 2592 2582 ½ ½ 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 6.0/10 23.25
8 Lei 2505 2567 0 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 6.0/10 20.75
9 Murzin 2478 2564 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 ½ 5.5/10 30.75
10 Zhu 2459 2540 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 5.5/10 17
11 Mendonca 2549 2518 1 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 5.0/10 25.25
12 Bjerre 2550 2529 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 ½ ½ 1 5.0/10 20
13 Shuvalova 2476 2486 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 4.5/10
14 Salimova 2397 2439 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 4.0/10
15 Abdumalik 2472 2430 0 ½ 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 3.5/10
16 Mammadzada 2443 2371 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 3.0/10
17 Yip 2430 2311 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 2.5/10
18 Khademalsharieh 2494 2282 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 2.0/10
19 Saduakassova 2500 2203 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 1.5/10 7.75
20 Badelka 2433 2196 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 1.5/10 3.5

All games days 1-2

The Polgar Challenge runs April 8-11, 2021. The time control is 10 minutes for each game with a five-second increment. The games are played on chess24. It is part of the Challengers Chess Tour that comprises four such tournaments followed by an eight-player final.

PeterDoggers
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by Chess.com in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!


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