Gukesh and unbeaten Nepo neck and neck at top after 10 rounds : The Tribune India

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Gukesh and unbeaten Nepo neck and neck at top after 10 rounds

Gukesh and unbeaten Nepo neck and neck at top after 10 rounds

R Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi shake hands after a draw


Toronto, April 16

Indian Grandmaster D Gukesh held on to the joint top spot with Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi after they played out an easy draw in the 10th round of the Candidates chess tournament here.

D Gukesh ensured Ian Nepomniachtchi remained in sight. PTI

The all-Indian duel between R Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi also ended in a draw, while Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura defeated Firouzja Alireza and Nijat Abasov, respectively, to come back within striking distance of the two leaders.

With just four rounds to come in the biggest event of the year, Gukesh and Nepomniachtchi have six points each with Praggnanandhaa, Caruana and Nakamura close on their heels with half-a-point behind.

Gujrathi, on six points, is sole sixth while for all practical purposes, Alireza and Abasov are out of the race with 3.5 and two points, respectively.

Nepomniachtchi has not been taking many risks in the event with either colour and his solid play makes him the only player who is unbeaten after 10 rounds.

The Ruy Lopez as white gave the Russian just an optical advantage after the opening and the 17-year-old Gukesh ensured parity with some timely exchanges leading to a rook and pawns endgame.

The contest was almost uneventful other than the opening part and in the endgame, the players exchanged another pair of rooks and a few pawns to reach a theoretically drawn position.

Praggnanandhaa has also been very solid with just one loss early in the second round against Gukesh. The 18-year old faced the Berlin defence by Gujrathi who equalised easily as black.

With three minor pieces and the queen off the board early, the rook and opposite colour bishop endgame did not quite offer chances to either player. The game was drawn after 39 moves.

Caruana faced the Sicilian Najdorf by Alireza and secured the advantage out of a side variation. The players overlooked a simple tactic but Caruana still remained ahead in endgame after winning a pawn on the 29th move. Alireza fought on but the result of the game was never in doubt.

In the women’s section, Tingjie Lei of China ended the unbeaten run of Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia and regained joint lead with compatriot Zhongyi Tan, who played out a draw with Koneru Humpy.

R Vaishali bounced back after a string of losses in a rollercoaster game with Nurgyul Salimova of Bulgaria, while Russian Kateryna Lagno drew with Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine.

With 6.5 points apiece, the Chinese duo of Lei and Tan are sitting pretty with a point’s lead over Goryachkina and Lagno.

Humpy is a distant fifth on 4.5 points, half-a-point ahead of Salimova and Muzychuk and Vaishali, despite the victory still holds the last spot on 3.5 points.

#Canada #Chess #Russia #Toronto

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