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Vaishali beats Humpy to move into sole lead at Norway chess

With each victory under classical time control worth three points, Vaishali got an early advantage moving to four points after the second round and her first-round loss against Wenjun Ju of China under faster time control does not matter so much right now.
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 12:09 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 12:09 IST

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Stavanger: India’s R Vaishali came up with a stupendous effort to beat compatriot Koneru Humpy and jump into sole lead in the women’s section of the Norway chess tournament here.

With each victory under classical time control worth three points, Vaishali got an early advantage moving to four points after the second round and her first-round loss against Wenjun Ju of China under faster time control does not matter so much right now.

India's third and latest Grandmaster among women, Vaishali with four points is at the helm followed by the Chinese duo of Tingjie Lei and Ju, Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine and Pia Cramling of Sweden share the fourth spot in the six-players double round robin event, while Humpy currently is languishing at the bottom on 1.5 points.

In the men’s section, World number one Magnus Carlsen emerged as the sole leader on another day that had only Armageddon to decide the winners.

The Norway Chess features a distinctive format where drawn classical games lead to Armageddon tiebreakers to ensure a winner after every round. While 10 minutes are provided to white, black gets 7 minutes to determine the winner of the contest. Black pieces win if the game ends in a draw.

Carlsen proved superior than Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the Armageddon. It is no secret anymore that the world’s best player and five times world champion does not enjoy Classical chess as much as before.

Carlsen drew in the Classical for the second day in the running and then romped home in the faster time control over Nakamura.

The lone Indian aspirant Praggnanandhaa had a tough day in office as he lost to reigning World champion Ding Liren of China in the tiebreaker. After drawing the first game confidently, Pragg somehow could not resist the perseverance of Liren who was like a man on a mission.

Later this year, Ding Liren is set to play a match against D Gukesh of India for the world championship crown.

Carlsen took his tally to three points in all and came across as the sole leader after the second round thanks to all results going his way. India’s Praggnanandhaa lost to Liren in the faster game, which left him with 2.5 points out of the opening round.

Having Carlsen in front on three points, Praggnanandhaa is close behind on 2.5 along side Firouzja Alireza of France, Nakamura, and Liren. Fabiano Caruana is currently at the bottom on two points.

Firouzja and Caruana also drew their classical game after a complex struggle but the former's abilities in speed chess shone through in the Armageddon game as he bagged crucial 1.5 points.

The highlight of the day was Vaishali’s fine victory over Humpy in an actual game. Humpy is known to be the queen of Indian chess for over a decade now and she was also ranked number two in the women’s candidate that finished recently.

Playing the white side of an Italian opening, Vaishali did not get much with her first move advantage and cashed in when the strongest ever Indian woman player made an error to find her queen entrapped. Vaishali also became the first player to score a victory in either section.

The other two classical matches between Lei Tingjie and Pia Cramling along with Ju Wenjun and Anna Muzychuk ended up in hard-fought draws.

The Chinese duo of Wenjun and Tingjie emerged victorious in their respective Armageddon games.

Results men: Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3) beat Hikaru Nakamura (USa, 2.5) 1.5-1 ;Ding Liren (Chn, 2.5) beat R Praggnanandhaa (2) 1.5-1; Firouzja Alireza (Fra, 2.5) beat Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 2) 1.5-1.

Women: R Vaishali (Ind, 4) beat K Humpy (Ind, 1,5); Tingkie Lei (Chn, 3) beat Pia Cramling (Swe, 2); Wenjun JU (Chn, 3) beat Anna Muzychuk (Ukr, 2).

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Published 29 May 2024, 12:09 IST

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