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Chess

Candidates 2024: Gukesh, Vaishali lose; Other Indian players hold to draw

D Gukesh suffered his first defeat while R Vaishali suffered her third defeat in the seventh round of Candidates 2024.

Gukesh D chess
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Gukesh D

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 12 April 2024 6:43 AM GMT

D Gukesh and R Vaishali lost their seventh-round matches at the Candidates 2024 while the other Indian players played out a draw on Friday.

D Gukesh slipped from the joint top spot after losing to Frenchman Alireza Firouza while R Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi played out draws against Fabiano Caruana and Nijat Abasov.

Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi regained his slender half-point lead inching to 4.5 points out of a possible seven at the halfway stage following a draw with American Hikaru Nakamura.

Gukesh's day didn't go as planned and despite enjoying a good position in the middle game, he bundled under the time pressure to commit blunders that cost him the match.

Gukesh ended up losing a piece but his position would still have been holdable despite the material deficit. However, as things unfolded, Alireza won this race with some timely checkmate threats.

Pragg played with the French defence and surprised Caruana who went for the advanced variation. Both players agreed to draw after 41 moves as their end game was equal with no chance of a breakthrough.

Vidit will be gutted to lose out on a win when he held an advantageous position against the Azerbaijani GM Abasov. Abasov defended quite well in the latter part of the game and forced Vidit to split the points.

Gukesh and Pragg are tied at four points each while Vidit is sitting with 3.5 points.

India's challenge in the women's section has started fading away as R Vaishali faced her third defeat of the tournament. She lost to Tingjie Lei of China.

Zhongyi Tan of China remained half a point ahead of the pack after drawing with closest rival Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia.

Kateryna Lagno, Russia, played out a draw with Nurgyul Salimova of Bulgaria, and in the other game of the day, Anna Muzychuk signed peace with India's Koneru Humpy.

The Indian challenge in the women's section might already have ended as Zhongyi stood firmly ahead on five points while Goryachkina had 4.5 points in her kitty.

Humpy and Vaishali need a miracle in the second half of the event to make a comeback as the trio has just 2.5 points.

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