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Chess: Gukesh holds Caruana; Praggnanandhaa draws with Nepomniachtchi

On another all-draws day, R Praggnanandhaa signed peace with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia leaving the lead positions intact like the previous round.

Chess: Gukesh holds Caruana; Praggnanandhaa draws with Nepomniachtchi
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D Gukesh (PTI)

BUCHAREST: World Championship challenger Grandmaster D Gukesh played out a draw with tournament leader and top seed Fabiano Caruana of United States in the seventh round of the Superbet classic chess tournament here.

On another all-draws day, R Praggnanandhaa signed peace with Fabiano Caruanaith and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia leaving the lead positions intact like the previous round.

Caruana on 4.5 points remains in front with two victories and five draws, he is followed by Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa and Alireza Firouzja of France, who are all half a point behind the American.

Nepomniachtchi shares the fifth spot with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France with a fifty percent score, a half point ahead of the trio of American Wesley So, Dutch Anish Giri and Uzbekistan’s first son in chess Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

Just two rounds remain in the USD 350000 prize money tournament.

Gukesh's choice of Italian opening gave him an optical advantage against Caruana. After the initial tussle, the players reached a middle game wherein the Indian had an edge thanks to better placed forces but Caruana was up to the task in finding the defense to maintain the balance.

The pieces got traded at regular intervals in this encounter and the players arrived at a Queen and rook endgame where neither side had a real chance. The game was drawn after 62 moves.

Praggnanandhaa had a relatively easy day against Nepomniachtchi despite playing black. Years of working with World number one Magnus Carlsen and his own expertise as the two-time world championship challenger has made Nepomniachtchi a leading theoretician but in the seventh round the Indian surprised him with what looked like a sensational preparation.

The next round would mostly decide the final outcome of the tournament as Caruana is facing Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh has a tough nut to crack in his final white game in Anish. Firouzja might also fancy his chances for a maiden victory in the Grand chess tour if he can conquer the machine-like precision of Nepomniachtchi.

Results round 7: Ian Nepomniachtchi (FID, 3.5) drew with R Praggnaanandhaa (Ind. 4); Deac Bogdan-Daniel (Rom, 2) drew with Alireza Firouzja (fra, 4); Anish Giri (Ned, 3) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3.5); D Gukesh (Ind, 4) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 4.5); Alireza Firouzja (Fra, 3.5) beat Wesley So (Usa, 3) drew with Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzb, 3).

PTI
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