Candidates chess tournament: D Gukesh plays his cards well, Vidit Gujrathi suffers another blow : The Tribune India

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Candidates chess tournament: D Gukesh plays his cards well, Vidit Gujrathi suffers another blow

Candidates chess  tournament: D Gukesh plays his cards well, Vidit Gujrathi suffers another blow

R Praggnanandhaa played out an uneventful draw with Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: FIDE



PTI

Toronto, April 8

Grandmaster D Gukesh did well to hold top-seeded American Fabiano Caruana to a draw but Vidit Gujrathi suffered another defeat at the hands of Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia in the fourth round of the Candidates chess tournament here.

D Gukesh held Fabio Caruana. Photo: FIDE

On a day when R Praggnanandhaa played out an uneventful draw with Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, Nijat Abasov of Azerbaijan fought hard to split the point with Firouzja Alireza of France to stay in contention in the eight-player double round-robin event that decides the challenger for the next World Championship.

Nepomniachtchi became the first sole leader in the event on three points following his second victory with white pieces and is now followed by Caruana and Gukesh on 2.5 points apiece. Praggnanandhaa is not far behind, holding the fourth spot on two points, while Gujrathi, Abasov, Alireza and Nakamura have 1.5 points each.

In the women’s section, R Vaishali made sure her streak matches with that of younger sibling Praggnanandhaa and played out a draw with rating favourite Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia but Koneru Humpy succumbed to her first defeat at the hands of lowest seed and youngest participant Nurgyul Salimova of Bulgaria. Zhongyi Tan maintained her sole lead on three points following a draw with Kateryna Lagno of Russia, while Tingjie Lei of China signed peace with Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine.

With Tan in front, Goryachkina remains on her heels on 2.5 points and another half-a-point adrift is the trio of Vaishali, Salimova and Lagno. Humpy slipped to joint sixth spot on 1.5 points along with Muzychuk and Lei.

Alert Gukesh

Gukesh faced the in-vogue Italian opening as black against Caruana and the players battled it out in the main variation. Gukesh was under some pressure in the middle game but came up with a fine pawn sacrifice leading to trade of many pieces.

The ensuing endgame with queens and pawns on board still gave Caruana some chances, but the Indian remained on his toes for 72 moves to ensure the draw.

Praggnanandhaa has been drawing praise and earning respect of his opponent with each passing round. Nakamura was no exception as he went for a safe version in another Italian opening of the day. The players reached a balanced middle game, where the American was happy to make a draw as white in just 24 moves.

Gujrathi had won his second-round game using the Berlin defence against Nakamura, so his choice of opening was quite predictable against Nepomniachtchi too.

The Russian, a veteran of two World Championship matches having won the last two Candidates tournaments, however, had some ideas in the topical endgame which gave a small advantage.

Gujrathi should have equalised but consistent pressure and a previous round loss against Praggnanandhaa probably took its toll as he slowly got outplayed in the endgame.

#Canada #Chess #Russia #Toronto #United States of America USA


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