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Candidates Tournament 2024, Round 6: Pragg & Vidit Win, Gukesh Remains on Top

Candidates Tournament 2024: Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi won their respective games.

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The Indian contingent in the open section of the 2024 Candidates Tournament enjoyed a rewarding round six, where R Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi emerged victorious, whilst D Gukesh played out a draw. The same, however, cannot be said about the two Indians in the women’s section, with both R Vaishali and Koneru Humpy conceding defeats.

Vidit, India’s most experienced player in the open section, was in desperate need of a victory after two defeats and a trot. Facing Alireza Firouzja, he had the upper hand in a game of Sozin Attack against the Sicilian defence, although much like his fifth-round game against Fabiano Caruana, time did not always favour the 2023 Grand Swiss Tournament champion. However, Firouzja, who is having a very underwhelming campaign, could not capitalise on it as Vidit secured a victory after 40 moves.

Against the lowest-seeded player in the open section, Nijat Abasov, R Praggnanandhaa did not take long to find an advantageous position, and the win arrived after 45 moves. This was the 18-year-old’s second win in this competition.
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Gukesh, meanwhile, could not become the first Indian to win three games, although he extended his unbeaten streak with a draw against Hikaru Nakamura, in a game where neither player seemed interested in taking risks.

In the women’s section, the experienced Koneru Humpy did not have many answers against the 2022 Candidates Tournament winner, Lei Tingjie. In a match of the King’s Indian Classical, Humpy had to concede defeat after 48 moves.

For Praggnanandhaa’s sister Vaishali, it was a day of miscalculations and errors in judgment as she could not offer much resilience against the runner-up of the 2018 Women’s World Championship, Kateryna Lagno.

Elsewhere, both Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana were successful in extending their unbeaten streaks, as whilst crossing each other’s paths, they played out a draw.

In the women’s section, Tan Zhongyi extended her stay at the top of the standings with a win over Anna Muzychuk, albeit she is being chased down by Aleksandra Goryachkina, who got her second win of the tournament by beating Nurgyul Salimova.

2024 Candidates Tournament Round 6 Results:

  • D Gukesh drew against Hikaru Nakamura

  • Vidit Gujrathi won against Alireza Firouzja

  • R Praggnanandhaa won against Nijat Abasov

  • Ian Nepomniachtchi won against Fabiano Caruana

  • R Vaishali lost against Kateryna Lagno

  • Koneru Humpy lost against Lei Tingjie

  • Tan Zhongyi won against Anna Muzychuk

  • Nurgyul Salimova lost against Aleksandra Goryachkina

(Players mentioned on the right played with black pieces)

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Gukesh Remains in Pole Position

After six of the fourteen rounds, India’s youngest competitor Gukesh remains at the top of the top of the table, jointly sharing the limelight with Ian Nepomniachtchi, with a score of 4.

The win over Nijat Abasov takes Praggnanandhaa to fourth place. He is tied on points with Fabiano Caruana (3.5), but placed behind the American based on the Sonneborn-Berger score. Vidit, meanwhile, has the same points as Hikaru Nakamura (6), but Sonneborn-Berger score sees him placed in the fifth position, ahead of the American.

Chances of an Indian winning the women’s section are now looking slim, as Vaishali and Humpy are placed in the sixth and seventh positions respectively, with scores of 2.5 and 2.

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Vidit to Take On Abasov in Round 7, Gukesh up against Misfiring Firouzja

Gukesh will have the chance to extend his advantage over the chasing pack as he takes on a misfiring Firouzja in the seventh round, while Vidit will be aiming for nothing less than full points against Abasov. The challenge will be comparatively more difficult for Pragggnanandhaa, who will be up against Caruana.

In the women’s section, Humpy will have the chance of getting her derailed campaign back on track as she faces a struggling Muzychuk, whilst Vaishali will have to punch above her weight in order to secure a win against Tingjie.

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