India’s R. Praggnanandhaa scored yet another victory over World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway to keep himself afloat even as Wei Yi of China stretched his lead to a massive 2.5 points in the Rapid and Blitz chess tournament, a part of the Grand Chess Tour.

With nine rounds still to come in the blitz event, Wei Yi has amassed 20.5 points with seven wins on the first day of blitz. Ending the day with 7.5 out of a possible nine, Yi is poised to win the first leg of the Grand Chess Tour.

Carlsen, on 18, is a distant second at this point and the main reason behind that is Praggnanandhaa, who has been beating the World No.1 often these days in the faster version of the game.

Praggnanandhaa, however is far behind the leaders with 14.5 points which makes it literally a two-horse race for the title.

In fourth spot is Arjun Erigaisi on 14 points while Duda Jan-Krzysztof of Poland is right behind him on 13. Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan stands sixth on 12.5, a full point clear of Vincent Keymer of Germany and the eighth spot is now taken by early leader Kirill Shevchenko of Romania with 11 points.

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Anish Giri of Holland improved a little to be ninth on 10.5 while the blitz remained a cause for worry for world championship challenger D. Gukesh who is languishing at the last spot with 9.5 points in the USD 1,75,000 prize money tournament.

Carlsen notably mentioned that his nervous system had collapsed following his second-round loss against Praggnanandhaa. He ended with six points out of nine but following his loss to the Indian, he blundered again and went down to Abdusattorov from a winning position.

Wei Yi started the day with a loss against Gukesh but recovered in quick time to only concede a draw to Carlsen while winning the rest of the seven games.

For Gukesh, it was a tough day despite a great start against the tournament leader as the Indian could only score 2.5 points in all.

With victories over Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh, Arjun ensured he remained in contention for a podium finish.

Losing to Wei Yi and Carlsen, Arjun scored five wins and two draws in his other games and will be optimistic on the final day of the event.

Final results:

1. Wei Yi 20.5; 2. Magnus Carlsen 18; 3. R. Praggnanandhaa 14.5; 4. Arjun Erigaisi 14; 5. Duda Jan-Krzysztof 13; 6. Nodirbek Abdusattorov 12.5; 7. Vincent Keymer 11.5; 8. Kirill Shevchenko 11; 9. Anish Giri 10.5; 10. D.Gukesh 9.5.