Caruana takes down MVL, Nepomniachtchi emerges as a sole leader

The Candidates Tournament resumed with a “bang”, as the latest challenger to the world championship title, Fabiano Caruana from the US, took down the leader of the tournament, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

The American won in great style, sacrificing material in the opening in order to create a very sharp and dangerous position. The French Grandmaster fell in Caruana’s opening preparation, but he defended remarkably well in what seemed a minefield. “Horror. Pure horror”, is what a top player feels when he walks straight into his opponent’s preparation, according to Magnus Carlsen, who commentated the first round for Chess24.

However, the effort took its toll: after six hours of play, and when the worst seemed to be already behind, the tournament leader bit the dust. This was the most exciting game of the tournament so far, and one to be remembered for decades to come, where both players demonstrated an excellent level.

This result allows Ian Nepomniachtchi to emerge as the sole leader since his game against Anish Giri finished in a draw. Kirill Alekseenko outplayed his compatriot Alexander Grischuk, while the Chinese derby between Ding Liren and Wang Hao ended in a draw.