Hao halts Praggnanandhaa’s winning run at Gibraltar chess

Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa’s five-match winning spree came to halt after the teenager went down to China’s Wang Hao in the seventh

round of the Masters category at the 18th Gibraltar Chess festival here.

The 14-year-old Praggnanandhaa, who turned things around superbly and won five games on the trot after losing in the opening round to compatriot P V Nandhidhaa, met his match in the experienced Hao on Monday.

Praggnanandhaa went down to Hao in 56 moves.

The Chinese Grandmaster now holds the joint lead with three others, including the Russian duo of Andrey Espipenko, David Paravyan and Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran, with six points.

Russian Daniil Yuffa, who beat Indian Grandmaster K Sasikiran, is in second place with compatriot Mihail Kobalia.

A bunch of players including second seed Maxim Vachier-Lagrave, former world champion Veselin Topalov, Indians B Adhiban, Karthikeyan Murali, Aryan Chopra, SL Narayanan and the young guns Praggnanandhaa and D Gukesh are joint third, with five points each.

Top seed Shakriar Memmedyarov moved to five points with a clinical win over Anna Muzychuk. He will take on Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa next.

In other round eight matches, Adhiban will come up against fellow Indian Gukesh, Karthikeyan Murali will meet David Navara and Shardul Gagare will encounter Maxim Matlakov.

Important results: Round 7: Maxim Vachier-Lagrave (5) drew Karthikeyan Murali (5); Wang Hao (6) beat R Praggnanandhaa (5); Michael Adams (5) drew Noel Studer (5); Shakriar Memmedyarov (5) beat Anna Muzychuk (4); B Adhiban (5) drew with Jan Werle (5).

Shardul Gagare (5) drew with Alexander Donchenko (5); Aryan Chopra (5) beat Xander Wemmers (4); Daniil Yuffa (5.5) beat K Sasikiran (4.5) ; D Gukesh (5) beat Natalia Buksa (4); S Ravi Teja (4) drew Vassily Ivanchuk (4).

Parham Maghsoodloo (6) beat Alan Pichot (5); David Paravyan (6) beat Mikhail Antipov (5); Sanal Vahap (5) drew with Alekseenko (5); SL Narayanan (5) drew Bela Khotenashvili (5).