London Chess Classic: Nepomniachtchi catches up with Caruana

The seventh round has produced three decisive results, allowing two players to share the lead with 4.5 points.

Matches in progress in round seven of the London Chess Classic in London.   -  LENNART OOTES

The London Chess Classic is finally hotting up. Round seven produced three decisive results, that is as many as the first six rounds put together.

All that action meant that Fabiano Caruana could no longer be the sole leader in London. Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi has caught up with the American, following his victory against Viswanathan Anand.

Saturday report: Nepomniachtchi closes in on Caruana

The leaders are on 4.5 points, but they are followed half-a-point behind by world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, both of whom won their games, against England’s Michael Adams and Russian Sergey Karjakin, respectively. Just two rounds remain.

Ratnakaran wins Penang Open


K. Ratnakaran stunned the field to win the Penang Heritage International Open chess tournament in Malaysia.

The Southern Railway employee from Kozhikode had begun as the 26th seed in an event featuring Grandmasters and strong International Masters.

Ratnakaran finished with eight points from nine rounds, the same as top seed Karen Grigoryan of Armenia, who had to be content with the runner-up spot because of an inferior tie-breaker score.

Another Indian, R. R. Laxman, took the eighth place. Two more Indians – Erigaisi Arjun and Prantik Roy – finished in the top 20, clinching 12th and 16th places respectively in a tournament that attracted 134 players from across the globe.

Anand loses

Anand, playing from the black side of an English Opening, had to pay the price for his inaccurate moves. His Russian rival’s decision to fight till the end, instead of going for a line that could have given him an easy draw by repeating moves, turned out to a wise one. The former world champion from Chennai was forced to resign on the 37th move, faced with the loss of a second pawn.

Carlsen, who began with the rarely played Bird’s Opening, had to face several anxious moments before posting his first win of the tournament, which came with a blunder on the 51st move by Adams. Lagrave won in 59 moves of Sicilian Najdorf against Karjakin, riding on an extra pawn in a superior ending featuring rooks and minor pieces.

The results (seventh round)
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) 4.5 beat Viswanathan Anand (Ind) 2.5; Fabiano Caruana (US) 4.5 drew with So Wesly (US) 3.5; Magnus Carlsen (Nor) 4 beat Michael Adams (Eng) 2.5; Levon Aronian (Arm) 3.5 drew with Hikarun Nakamura (US) 3.5; Sergey Karjakin (Rus) 2.5 lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 4.

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