FIDE Grand Swiss Chess: Firouzja ends Sasikiran's unbeaten run

Alireza Firouzja won in 43 moves with white pieces against Sasikiran on the first board Thursday night and moved up to 6.5 points to grab the sole lead by a full point.

FILE PHOTO: Indian Grandmaster K Sasikiran.   -  K. Ramesh Babu

Alireza Firouzja stepped up the pace towards a Candidates berth after inflicting a 43-move defeat on a previously-unbeaten K. Sasikiran in the eighth round of the FIDE Grand Swiss chess tournament at Riga, Latvia, on Thursday.

With three rounds to go, Firouzja leads at 6.5 points, a point ahead of a 10-man pack. The victory over Sasikiran also made him World No. 4 on the live rating list. Top two finishers from this competition will qualify for next year’s Candidates tournament.

P. Harikrishna and Nihal Sarin drew their games to join Sasikiran at five points. S. P. Sethuraman was the only Indian winner in the Open section while R. Vaishali and Padmini Rout posted victories in the women section.

Eighth-round results (involving Indians):

Open: Alireza Firouzja (Fra, 6.5) bt K. Sasikiran (5); Evgeniy Najer (Rus. 5) drew with P. Harikrishna (5); Parham Maghsoodloo (Iri, 5) drew with Nihal Sarin (5); R. Praggnanandhaa (4) drew with Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzb, 4); Maksim Chigaev (Rus, 4) drew with Raunak Sadhwani (4); Baadur Jobava (Geo, 4) drew with Arjun Erigaisi (4); Maxim Matlakov (Rus, 3.5) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (3.5); D. Gukesh (3) lost to Nodirbek Yakubboev (Uzb, 4); Mateusz Bartel (Pol, 3) drew with B. Adhiban (3); S. P. Sethuraman (3.5) bt Lucas vanForeest (Ned, 2.5).

Women: D. Harika (5) drew with Olga Badelka (Rus, 5); Pia Cramling (Swe, 4.5) drew with Vantika Agrawal (4.5); R. Vaishali (4.5) bt Alina Bivol (Rus, 3.5); Divya Deshmukh (3) lost to Valentina Gunina (Rus, 4); Maria Floris Eizaguerri (Esp, 2) lost to Padmini Rout (3).

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