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Chess | Vidit retains lead in Masters

Vidit Gujrathi retained the lead in the Masters section, R. Praggnanandhaa scored his first win and Arjun Erigaisi emerged as the only leader in the Challengers category.

In short, on Wednesday, things went very well for the Indians in the elite Tata Steel chess tournament at Wijk Aan Zee. For the first time in the world’s oldest and the most prestigious tournament, Indians were sole leaders in both sections.

Overnight leader Vidit drew with Russia’s Andrehy Esipenko to head the pack at three points. The 32-move draw kept Vidit half a point ahead of Esipenko, Magnus Carlsen, Richard Rapport, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Jorden van Foreest.

Praggnanandhaa beat Sweden’s Nils Grandelius in 64 moves.

With coach R. B. Ramesh in isolation following his positive report for Covid, Praggnanandhaa said, “He’s fine, he’s isolated now in a different room. I’m staying alone now. It’s a difficult thing for me because it’s the first tournament.”

In the Challengers section, Arjun (3.5 points) outplayed Germany’s Roven Vogel for a third victory in four rounds.

Fourth round results (Indians unless stated): Masters: Vidit Gujrathi (3) drew with Andrey Esipenko (Rus, 2.5); R. Praggnanandhaa (2) bt Nils Grandelius (Swe, 0.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2.5) drew with Jorden van Foreest (Ned, 2.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2.5) bt Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 2); Sam Shankland (USA, 1.5) drew with Richard Rapport (Hun, 2.5); Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2) drew with Daniil Dubov (Rus, 1.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 1.5) drew with Anish Giri (1.5).

Challengers (involving Indians): Roven Vogel (Ger, 1.5) lost to Arjun Erigaisi (3.5); Daniel Dardha (Bel, 1) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2.5).

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