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Candidates Round 9: Gukesh and Pragg tie, Vidit overcomes Hikaru.

In the Candidates event, India's Vidit Gujrathi secured his second victory over Hikaru Nakamura to close the gap on the world No.3 player on points. Hikaru, who was only half a point behind the lead, fell after this tie. He is now level on 4.5 points with Vidit and Fabian Caruana, the second player in the world rankings. Ian Nepomniachtchi remains the only unbeaten player in the tournament along with India's D Gukesh. Vidit, who had just gone through a difficult period, immediately faced an "adventurous" (6...g5) opening. The game was quiet for a while and Black didn't seem too worried. Vidit, who struggled with time management in previous rounds, used the clock effectively this time.

Candidates Round 9: Gukesh and Pragg tie, Vidit overcomes Hikaru.

In the Candidates event, India's Vidit Gujrathi secured his second victory over Hikaru Nakamura to close the gap on the world No.3 player on points. Hikaru, who was only half a point behind the lead, fell after this tie. He is now level on 4.5 points with Vidit and Fabian Caruana, the second player in the world rankings. Ian Nepomniachtchi remains the only unbeaten player in the tournament along with India's D Gukesh. Vidit, who had just gone through a difficult period, immediately faced an "adventurous" (6...g5) opening. The game was quiet for a while and Black didn't seem too worried. Vidit, who struggled with time management in previous rounds, used the clock effectively this time. 


 

Hikaru made some expensive choices such as 27...Nxe5. Vidit was a pawn and black made a mistake trying to get it back. With his knight, Vidit captured the d-pawn and exposed his rook, allowing it to match Black's e5 bishop. After 31...Rd3 and 32...Rd6, Hikaru was practically out. Vidit correctly saw the brilliant 34...Qd7, which allowed the queen to threaten mate and force Black to surrender in the next two moves. Although briefly under the control of Alireza Firouzji, Nepomniachtchi managed to escape with a draw. The French-Iranian grandmaster, now in his 20s at the bottom of the rankings, did not look pleased with himself. "I'm not sure if it was enough, but I think I was definitely better. Sure, I had a chance. Even though my goal is to win, I take the opportunity when it comes. I had the opportunity today, but I couldn't get it. the greatest victory. 


 

A cautious draw came from the play of Gukesh and Praggnanandha. Gukesh won with the black pieces against his Indian in their last encounter in the 2nd round. In the competition, Gukesh triumphed twice with Black; the second win came against Vidit. The 17-year-old, who is currently tied for the tournament lead, has shown incredible maturity and a willingness to not only persevere through the good times, but also bounce back from a disastrous round. Gukesh decided to try his Ruy Lopez Delayed Exchange game with 7.c3, a rarely used strategy. Both players avoided any chances and the match ended in a rather boring draw. Firouzja angrily responded to head referee Aris Marghetis, asking him to wear new, softer shoes in the next round after drawing a game in which he had chances to win. "During Ian's movement I was walking during the most intense period and the head referee instructed me to stop walking because my shoes were making noise on the hardwood floor. It really distracted me and I lost all focus," Firouzja wrote on Twitter. "Firouzja's steps were quite heavy... The referee said: "I don't know what expression to use; it was bloated, if you will. After receiving a complaint from one of the players, Nijat Abasov, he asked Firouzja if he could "stretch your walking area" or think about wearing "softer" shoes in the future.

 


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