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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Gukesh makes comeback with finely-crafted game against Vidit, regains joint lead with Nepo

On a day when R Praggnanandhaa played out a draw with Firouza Alireza of France, Hikaru Nakamura sealed his supremacy in the all-American duel against Fabiano Caruana to come back into the reckoning for top honours

Our Bureau And Agencies Toronto Published 15.04.24, 12:19 PM
India’s D. Gukesh (right), in a picture posted on X, ponders a move during his match against compatriot Vidit Gujrathi at the Candidates Chess in Toronto on Saturday.

India’s D. Gukesh (right), in a picture posted on X, ponders a move during his match against compatriot Vidit Gujrathi at the Candidates Chess in Toronto on Saturday. Sourced by The Telegraph

India’s D. Gukesh bounced back with a finely-crafted game to outwit compatriot Vidit Gujrathi and regain his joint lead with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia after the eighth round of the Candidates Chess tournament here.

On a day when R Praggnanandhaa played out a draw with Firouza Alireza of France, Hikaru Nakamura sealed his supremacy in the all-American duel against Fabiano Caruana to come back into the reckoning for top honours.

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Overnight sole leader Nepomniachtchi faltered in the early stages to allow tail-ender Nijat Abasov to get away with an easy draw in the other game of the eight-player double round-robin event.

With six rounds still to come, Gukesh and Nepomniachtchi have 5 points apiece and they are followed by Nakamura and Pragnanandhaa on 4.5 points each.

Caruana is now sole fifth on four points. Gujrathi on 3.5 comes in next ahead of Alireza on three points, while Abasov is still at the rear of the tables on 2.5 points.

Gukesh had his task cut out and went for a rare variation wherein he surprised Gujrathi as early as on move four. Gujrathi sank into a long thought and ended up losing around twenty minutes on the clock.

In the next few moves Gukesh equalised without much ado even as Gujrathi tried to make some headways on both flanks.

In the middle game, Gukesh seized control of the only open file and used his queen and rook for an absolute domination to penetrate. Vidit tried hard to resist but the pressure was quite unforgiving especially when he had less time.

The die was cast when Gukesh entered the eighth rank and it was a picturesque finish as white’s king was taken for a walk before the checkmate became inevitable. The game lasted 38 moves.

“These kind of clean games are rare at this level. In the opening he did some inaccuracies and his position was unpleasant, I was in control, it was a nice game,” Gukesh said when asked if he was surprised how he won as Black without much counterplay.

Humpy prevails

In the women’s section, Koneru Humpy scored a victory over compatriot R. Vaishali out of a Queen pawn game to jump to 3.5 points.

Russians Zhongyi Tan and Tingjie Lei share the lead with Russian Aleksandra Goryachkina on five points out of a possible eight.

Russian Kateryna Lagno is within striking distance of the three leaders on 4.5 points with Humpy and Nurgyul Salimova sharing the fifth spot on 3.5 points each.

Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine stands seventh on three points, while Vaishali is in the last spot remaining with 2.5 points.

PTI

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