India’s Vidit Gujrathi defeated Russia’s Daniil Dubov in the third round to surge ahead of the pack at the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee, the Netherlands. Gujrathi now has the sole lead, with 2.5 points.
R. Praggnanandhaa, however, lost to Dutchman Jorden Van Foreest late on Monday night.
Apart from Van Foreest, Andrey Esipenko and Richard Rapport also registered victories and they now sit on two points together with World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who drew their games.
In the contest between Gujrathi and Dubov, the Russian, true to his creative style, introduced a novelty in the Italian Opening as early as on move 8. The Indian GM took the seemingly risky approach, first trading his dark-squared bishop and then accepting a central pawn sacrifice.
As a result, he fell behind in development, whereas Black’s king got stuck in the centre. Gujrathi capitalised on an error on move 32 by Dubov and secured a point.
Van Foreest surprised Praggnanandhaa with a rare line and put serious pressure on the black side. Praggnanandhaa held his own up to a point before the Dutchman gained the upper hand to win.
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Carlsen showed resilience to share the point with Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda while Dutch star Anish Giri drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. In the fourth round to be played later on Tuesday night, Gujrathi faces Espinenko and Praggnanandhaa faces Sweden’s Nils Grandelius in the 13-round championship.
Meanwhile, in the Challenger event being held simultaneously, Indian GM Arjun Erigaisi defeated Belgium's Daniel Dardha in the third round to share the joint top spot with two others - Thai Dai Van Nguyen (Czech Republic) and Volodar Murzin (Russia). They all have 2.5 points.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly was held to a draw by Max Warmerdam of the Netherlands and has two points from three rounds.
- 1. Vidit Gujrathi – 2.5 points;
- 2-6. Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Magnus Calsen, Richard Rapport, Andrey Esipenko and Jorden Van Foreest – 2;
- 7-8. Fabiano Caruana, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – 1.5;
- 9-13. Sam Shankland, Sergey Karjakin, Daniil Dubov, Anish Giri, Praggnanandhaa – 1;
- 14. Nils Grandelius – 0.5.
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