Candidates chess: Ian Nepomniachtchi consolidates lead

The Russian posts his second win in as many days; he is now one point ahead of France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Ian Nepomniachtchi has 4.5 points after six rounds. - FIDE

Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi posted his second win in as many days to consolidate his lead at the Candidates chess tournament.

Nepomniachtchi defeated second seed Ding Liren of China in the sixth round to take his tally to 4.5 points. He is now one point ahead of second-placed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France). U.S.’s Fabiano Caruana is in the third spot with 3.5 points.

Eight rounds remain in this double round-robin tourney featuring eight players. The winner will play the World No. 1, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, for the World title later in the year.


Caruana - held to a draw by a fighting Alexander Grischuk (Russia) - and others will have to play a lot better if they want to stop Nepomniachtchi from earning that privilege to take on Carlsen. Nepomniachtchi, the fourth-seed, had the advantage of playing with white pieces for the second day in a row; he opted for Ruy Lopez and romped home in 40 moves.

Liren’s chance for half a point came as late as the 33rd move, but he missed it. It wouldn’t have been easy to find it on the board, though.

The results (sixth round)
  • Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 3 drew with Fabiano Caruana (U.S.) 3;
  • Kirill Alekseenko (Rus) 2 lost to Anish Giri (Ned) 3;
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 4.5 bt Ding Liren (Chn) 2;
  • Wang Hao (Chn) 3 drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 3.5.

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