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Nepo leading pack as Indians in hot pursuit

Nepo leading pack as Indians in hot pursuit

D Gukesh faces compatriot Vidit Gujrathi in Round 8. FIDE


Toronto, April 13

Indian Grandmasters R Praggnanandhaa and D Gukesh would look to bridge the gap with leader Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia when they restart their campaigns in the eighth round of the Candidates chess tournament here.

Teen sensation Praggnanandhaa will be up against Frenchman Firouzja Alireza, while Gukesh will take on compatriot Vidit Gujrathi when the tournament resumes late today.

While the Indians have had a decent outing in the open section so far, it is defending champion Nepomniachtchi who is in prime position to complete a hat-trick of titles at the halfway stage.

With 4.5 points to his credit, Nepomniachtchi would be happy with his performance and stands as the favourite with half-a-point more than nearest rivals Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh and top seed Fabiano Caruana of the United States.

Gujrathi on 3.5 points is known to rise towards the end of tournaments and one can expect him to come firing in the second half along with Hikaru Nakamura, who shares the fifth spot with him. Alireza comes next in the standings on the seventh spot with 2.5 points, half-a-point clear of Nijat Abasov of Azerbaijan.

It has been a story of less hits and more misses for the Indian trio.

Gukesh also enjoyed a great position against Alireza in the previous round and the Frenchman was under tremendous pressure with the clock ticking away too.

However, luck did not seem to be on Gukesh’s side and it took some serious mistakes on his part to hand the point to Alireza.

Praggnanandhaa has been very solid and has shown tremendous preparation here. His black-piece draw with Caruana in a French defence was a case in point showing his tremendous confidence and his victory over Gujrathi earlier had already shown the risk-taking ability.

Against Alireza, the previous outing was a draw and Praggnanandhaa will try to use his white pieces well in the return game.

#Canada #Chess #Russia #Toronto

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