With sunken eyes and a sad face, R Pragyanand leaned against the table as if he had lost the game against veteran Swiss Grandmaster Yannick Pelletier. The 16-year-old won the game, but due to better timing control, despite playing catch-up for the most part of the game. Playing with the black pieces, he had a pretty good start before stuttering towards the middle game and looked on the verge of defeat.
Pragyananand was a self-critic for his game. “The quality of my game was very poor. I am really sorry for that (Pelletier). I’ve played poorly, and this point doesn’t bring me any joy. I didn’t know what I did, made too many mistakes and lost control. I didn’t know what had happened,” he admitted, still unable to fathom what had gone wrong.
The teen seemed a little quicker than usual, seemingly making instinctive moves rather than considering his strategy.
In the middle of the game, the Swiss were in total control and Pragyananand looked to crash into defeat, which would have been India’s first tournament.
But he held his nerves, pulling himself out of a difficult situation by closing the holes and papering over the cracks. He did the smart thing by not making any bold sacrifices that could have proved counterproductive against an opponent who had become grandmaster even before Pragyananand was born. The Swiss is 45 years old and has a wealth of experience, including defeating Magnus Carlsen with the black pieces in 2015.
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All 6 teams completed their hat-trick of wins in the 44th match #Chess Olympiad in round 3
— All India Chess Federation (@aicfchess) 31 July 2022
Pelletier sought defensive measures and spent too much time on his move. But Pragyananand’s coach RB Ramesh said it was better to pass a tough test earlier than later in the tournament, when match-ups get tough. “I always tell them that it’s better to make mistakes later in the tournament. Sometimes, at the start of the tournament, you play very aggressively and end up losing. Whether you win or lose, you have to be on your own game. Make sure you haven’t done anything wrong.Any professional sport has to be prepared for any kind of situation and conditions.
However, none of Pragyananand’s teammates felt intimidated. D Gukesh trounced Nico Georgiadis with a straight offensive play in scintillating form, which shattered his opponent from start to finish. He has been one of the most authoritative and destructive of all the B team players. Nihal Sarin, though he was error-prone at times, showed further signs of regaining his form with a win over Sebastian Bogner, while Raunak Sadhwani, emerging fast as a reliable player, replaced Fabian Benziger. Defeated. An undefeated record – a perfect 12/12 – has volume in whispers that team B could finish better than team A, which they are trailing by half a point. But Ramesh is not only wary of tough opponents in the times to come, but is also worried about fatigue in the youth group.
“We will make sure everyone gets enough rest for the later part of the tournament so that they stay fresh,” he says.
However, the C team suffered some setbacks as Suryashekhar Ganguly and Abhimanyu Puranik had to settle for a draw. The women’s teams A and C also won all their games, but team B had to settle for a draw.
Among the top teams in the open segment, Italy dealt a serious blow to Norway’s gold medal hopes, with Lorenzo Lodisi and Francesco Sonis leading John Ludwig Hammer and Johann before Daniil Vocaturo and Luca Morani Jr drew Magnus Carlsen and Aryan Tari. defeated Sebastian Christian.