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Praggnanandhaa Settles For Draw vs Gukesh In All-Indian Clash

Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa missed out on becoming a joint leader at the the Superbet Classic chess tournament after settling for a draw against compatriot D Gukesh in the third round here. After losing to Gukesh in the last Candidates tournament in April earlier this year, Praggnanandhaa had a great opportunity to equalise the score this year but could not find a winning continuation after Gukesh spoiled a drawn endgame. The Catalan opening saw Gukesh sacrificing a pawn early and Praggnanandhaa had his share of counterplay on the Queen side. As things unfolded, Gukesh recovered the pawn with an optical advantage with his Knight against a slightly bad Bishop of Praggnanandhaa.

With the intricacies of the middle game over, Gukesh decided to part with a pawn and reached a Queen and rook endgame that should have been an easy draw but a blunder on his 53rd move saw a forced liquidation leading to a King and pawns endgame.

On another day, Praggnanandhaa may have found the winning continuation to become a joint leader but luck smiled on Gukesh and the game was drawn a few moves later.

For the first time in three days, all the five games in the ten-player double round-robin tournament ended in draws. The other player coming close to a win was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave who almost pulled it off against his French teammate Alireza Firouzja.

It was a Berlin defense game wherein Firouzja won the opening battle for the third day running getting a balanced position easily as black.

However, a late error in the queen-less middle game, saw Vachier-Lagrave seize the initiative and it should have been a win that slipped out of hands for the older Frenchman.

With all games ending in draws, the lead positions remained unchanged and Gukesh

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