Candidates Chess: Second-seed Ding Liren loses again

China's Ding Liren slumped to his second shock defeat, going down to Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second round of the Candidates chess tournament.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (left), who defeated Ding Liren in the second round of the Candidates tournament.   -  FIDE

Second seed Ding Liren of China slumped to his second shock defeat, going down to Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second round of the Candidates chess tournament. He was beaten by compatriot Wang Hao in the first round.

The top seed, Fabiano Caruana of the United States, is looking in fine form though. The odds-on favourite scored a fine victory over Kirill Alekseenko of host Russia.

One of the day's most interesting games saw Anish Giri of the Netherlands showing superb fighting spirit against China's Wang Hao. The Dutchman drew from a difficult position, thus avoiding what would have been the second straight loss.

READ: Wang Hao stuns Ding Liren

The day also saw the Russians Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexander Grischuk splitting the point. That left Caruana, Wang Hao, Nepomniachtchi and Vachier-Lagrave as the early leaders, with 1.5 points each.

Twelve rounds remain. The winner of this eight-player tournament will become eligible to challenge the World champion Magnus Carlsen later in the year.

The results (second round)

Fabiano Caruana (US) 1.5 bt Kirill Alekseenko (Rus) 0.5; Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 1.5 drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 1; Wang Hao (Chn) 1.5 drew with Anish Giri (Ned) 0.5; Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 1.5 bt Ding Liren (Chn) 0.

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