Nepomniachtchi took early lead in Tata Steel Masters group

Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia (right) and Anish Giri, the Netherlands’ strongest chess player, during their clash at the 2019 Tata Steel Masters Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Holland. Giri, one of the world’s top ten chess players, was defeated by Nepomniachtchi, who holds the lead. (Photo: Alina l’Ami)

After six rounds of the elite Masters Group of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Holland, Russian chess grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi was in the lead.

Nepomniachtchi had scored 4 points from 6 games while Ding Liren of China had 3.5 points from 5 games, the same as the world champion Magnus Carlsen. The tournament is worth detailing because most of the renowned grandmasters are participants. The players include six of the world’s top ten.

One of the world’s youngest chess grandmasters, 13-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa of India (left), facing 14-year-old German International Master Vincent Keymer during the elite Tata Steel Chess Tournament in the Netherlands. The game ended in a draw. (Photo: Alina l’Ami)

The tournament is being conducted in two separate categories: Masters and Challengers. Both categories are conducted in the classical mode where there is enough time to calculate the best move. Both are also being conducted in a round-robin mode and have an equal number of players. The tournament ends on January 27.

In the Challengers category, which abounds with alternative talent, grandmasters Anton Korobov and Vladislav Kovalev were leading the charge with 3.5 points from 5 games.

Meanwhile, India celebrated its 60th chess grandmaster recently when Dommaraju Gukesh captured the title at 12 years, 7 months and 17 days. Gukesh is the second youngest person to qualify for the grandmaster title. The youngest person ever to qualify is Sergey Karjakin of Russia, who earned the title at the age of 12 years and 7 months.

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